CORONAVIRUS NEWS: Stratford support group attracts 1,000 members in first week

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Gill Cleeve of Stratford-upon-Avon Town Support. (Photo: David Fawbert Photography.)

A NEW group which supports vulnerable people who may feel isolated by coronavirus has already attracted over 1,000 members since it was formed last Saturday 15th March.

Stratford-upon-Avon Town Support is one of a number of volunteer groups founded following the virus outbreak.

Group organiser Gill Cleeve from Stratford said she started the group because a lot of people wanted to help and volunteer their time to collect prescriptions, deliver groceries, do some shopping or offer some re-assurance to anyone who is lonely, worried about coronavirus.

Gill Cleeve said the response clearly showed there were, “so many well-meaning people in Stratford who wanted to help.”

“It’s hard to know who to credit every member of our town should be credited, I started the group on Saturday, when I saw the level of concern rising. I did it as a member of the community, with a background in emergency response training. Then asked my fellow  town councillors to join me as we are representatives of our area. While the group is not affiliated to any of the councils, everyone involved is willing to play their part and do what they can,” Gill Cleeve said.

People are pitching in with offers of help in the tight-knit community of Stretton-on-Fosse where a newly-formed support group called SCAP has already enlisted 17 volunteers.

SCAP stands for Stretton Coronavirus Action Plan and its volunteer organisers include Izzi Hazelwood, chair of Stretton-on-Fosse Parish Council and Jill Harrison who also volunteers with Re-engage – a social group for older people in the village.

So far leaflets about SCAP’s volunteer services have been delivered to 200 households advising that help is at hand, via a telephone and email helpline, a buddy system and also for anyone who is ill or self-isolating.

SCAP volunteers can collect prescriptions, help with the food shop, chat on the phone or offer guidance about what to do with problems caused by the virus.

Jill Harrison said: “The majority of people are aware of the dangers but others think it won’t affect them but they might be the ones who unwittingly spread the virus. Some people are a little bit scared so we want to re-assure them. We also want to keep the pub – The Plough – in business so we’re looking at ways to help raise revenue. It’s very important we support local businesses throughout this time.”

Have you formed a support group in your community? Let us know and the Herald will support you too. Contact: news@stratford-herald.com