Community action aims to reach everyone in Stratford

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AS communities across the Herald area step up efforts to support people in need, Stratford Town Council and Stratford Town Trust have joined forces for an initiative that aims to contact everyone in Stratford – those who are on the internet and those who are not.

For the former, it has set up a website so people can volunteer their services and get support if needed.

The website – www.stratfordsupport.org.uk – gives access to the latest government advice, a place to register offers of support and enables people to make requests for help.

For those without internet access, a leaflet will be mailed to every household in every Stratford-upon-Avon ward outlining information and advice and the names and numbers of ward councillors who can signpost to volunteers or specialist services.

There will also be two slips people can cut out and post through neighbours’ doors if they are able to offer practical support.

The Town Trust has abolished parking charges at the Rother Street civic surface car park on a temporary basis to help those who need to come into town for essential supplies or to visit the GP or dentist.

Chief executive Sara Aspley said: “A large percentage of our community are over the age of 65 years and for many this will be an extremely frightening and isolating experience, particularly if they don’t regularly use the internet or social media.

“We know from our recent consultation community support for one another can make a difference in many small ways and perhaps a simple leaflet through the door will be enough to encourage someone to reach out as the crisis unfolds to provide practical support to our community.”

Stratford Town Clerk Sarah Summers added: “Our ward councillors know their communities well, so giving people the opportunity to speak directly to someone on the phone who has an understanding of their situation is going to be a real lifeline for many in these unprecedented times.”

The website came about after Gill Cleeve, ward councillor for Hathaway, set up a Facebook page, Stratford-upon-Avon Town Support.

She said: “I set up the page knowing that people would want to volunteer or offer their services. We have been overwhelmed by the response and are grateful for all the community minded people who have volunteered to help others in a time of need. By coming together, we can make a difference.”

The leaflet will be posted out to all households in Stratford wards over the coming week. The website is live now.