Hundreds of volunteers are on standby to help Abingdon residents through the COVID-19 pandemic as restrictions continue into the winter.
With more than 3,000 acts of kindness already completed, members of Abingdon Coronavirus community response (ACR) are ready to serve the town again.
The group, which was set up in the Spring, provides neighbour-to-neighbour help with shopping, collection of prescriptions and friendly chats.
It is determined to ensure that no-one is forgotten as lockdown lifts next week. The pledge comes as the Government outlined the tiers that areas fall into as restrictions continue until the New Year.
Julie Kemp-Harper from the group, said: “People feel a bit more prepared and supported as a result of the relationships that were built earlier in the year and better provision by supermarkets and other services.
“However, there’s also much apprehension about managing over the winter and fresh hardships facing all ages, so we plan to carry on over the coming months.”
The group limits what it offers to what you might reasonably expect a neighbour to do and works closely with other Abingdon support agencies.
Many people have family or immediate neighbours to help them out now, but said Julie: “That doesn’t apply to everyone. By coordinating volunteers across the town at a neighbourhood level we hope that no one will be left out. Sometimes our volunteers are the only friendly face a resident has seen for several days and those friendly chats are so valuable”.
To request help for yourself or a family member fill out our Support Requests form on our website www.abingdoncommunityresponse.org or email: email@example.com .
The Abingdon Community Larder is open every Friday at the Abingdon Carousel Family Centre, off Caldecott Chase ( OX14 5GZ ).
It is a Food Membership Scheme. From £3.50 a week members can choose from 10 food items in boxes and tins and jars, and as much fruit and vegetables as they want.
It is not means tested – open to all, and aims to help some people who are finding food too expensive.
The picture shows some of the helpers and produce before the doors opened today.
The food – that would otherwise go to waste because of reasons such as over supply, comes from supermarkets like Tesco and Asda
The larder is part of the charity SOFEA. They not only help stop food waste, but also provide training for young people who did not get the best out of education and need practical skills before getting into employment.
What is available is different every week. An example of some of the foods on offer this week is shown here.
SOFEA have been helping people most affected during the lockdown, and reopened the doors of their larders to members in September. In Abingdon, after about 6 weeks they have around 25 members, and hope to double that number by Christmas.
Volunteers will be running a pop-up Poppy stall outside Abingdon’s Royal British Legion this weekend to ensure everyone who wants to, can donate and wear a poppy.
Alongside the traditional paper poppy, they will be offering 2020 and VE day pin badges as well as Remembrance crosses and even teddy bears.
100 poppy boxes have gone out to schools, churches and shops in the town. But like so many things this year, the Poppy Appeal has had to adapt to the threat of COVID-19. This means there will be NO poppy sellers on the street, doing house-to-house collections or at Tesco Extra or Waitrose.
Clare Oldfield, poppy appeal organiser, said: ‘Abingdon has always taken the poppy to heart raising some £200,000 in the past four years alone. The impact of COVID-19 has left some in the armed forces community in dire need of support and we need your backing more than ever because every poppy counts in the help it provides.’
The pop-up stall, which accepts contactless payments, will run outside the Spring Road club from 10am – 4pm on weekends from Saturday October 24 to Saturday November 7.
Poppies will also be available at:
* Costa Coffee
* The Co-op
* The Bookstore
* The One Stop shop on Wootton Road
* Budgens, Peachcroft
* The Royal British Legion
* The Conservative Club
* Trinity Church
* St Michael’s Church
* St Nicholas Church
* St Helen’s Church
* Ock Street church cafe
A dedicated Poppy Appeal page appears on the Legion website and can be found at www.britishlegion.org.uk/get-involved/poppy-appeal.