On Saturday morning there was a long ‘socially distanced’ queue for the Abingdon Community Fridge at the Health and Wellbeing Centre off Audlett Drive. Some interesting chalk pictures have been added since to amuse people as they queue at the fridge on Monday.
Abingdon Community Fridge fights food waste by redistributing surplus food from local supermarkets and SOFEA.. The Abingdon Community Fridge is open to all. On Monday it will have tomatoes, lettuces, greens, bananas and other fruit, yogurt, bread etc.
The members of the Abingdon Probus Club gave a cheque for £500 for Abingdon Community Hospital. They wanted to thank the hospital and League of Friends for all their hard work in these difficult times. They would like the money to be spent on staff welfare and for Abingdon Emergency Multidisciplinary Units (EMU).
This presentation was carried out using social distancing as required.
Probus is a national organization which through it’s member clubs seeks to bring together like minded people who have worked in professions and/or in business.
Before the lockdown they met on the second Wednesday of the month for lunch in a local hotel, often with a guest speaker.
It addition during the year there are a number of social events, the theatre, Christmas lunch, ladies summer lunch and a host of other organized visits.
If anyone is interested in joining them, though currently on the national lockdown, please contact their President, Marcus Smith, on 01235 201174 or by email email@example.com
The ‘Share a Poem’ poetry group usually meets at St Ethelwolds on the first Wednesday of the month and they did intend to have the theme of ‘Fools and Folly‘. The April 1st meeting was cancelled – as was April’s Fools Day by common consent. Then some of the group met virtually using Zoom. I could not make it as I was at work but would have liked to have been there.
The Quakers, first Thursday evening of the month meeting at St Ethelwolds, has also decided to use Zoom to bring people together.
I gather that Zoom and Skype and Whatsapp and Facetime are all being used for video calls and meetings. At work I am supporting people with learning disabilities, and they are currently not allowed visits, or their usual range of activities such as: shopping, gym, day centre, craft workshops, church, bingo, pub etc. There are Easy Read guides to help explain what and why this is all happening. Those with iPads can use facetime and there are laptops with Zoom and Skype for others.
Youtube is being used for live streaming and recordings. Nicky Thornton will be launching her latest book The Cut-Throat Cafe on Thursday, April 2nd using a youtube live stream . It should have happened at Mostly Books.
The day after the PM told the nation to avoid unnecessary contact and travel, and to stay away from pubs and theatres, the social activity shutdown has begun.
Most of the churches in Abingdon will be closed next Sunday. The Methodist church said ‘It is with sadness that we recommend that worship services in Methodist Churches are suspended for the time being in line with Government guidance.’ The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are also calling for Church of England churches to put public worship on hold and become a ‘different sort of church’.
At Preston Road Community Centre we met tonight and decided that this evening’s Bingo would be the last for a while. This did mean giving the Easter egg prizes away in one go rather than between now and Easter. But to compensate for that the Preston Road Jackpot of £200 will be won this evening.
A lot of the groups meeting at the community centre have already decided to stop meeting. That includes U3A, and the twinning society. The food bank will continue to operate but with social distancing measures.
The VWHDC (Vale of White Horse District Council) have announced the closure of:
- Community-based leisure events and activities at their arts centres involving older and vulnerable people
- All formal council meetings until the end of March have been postponed
The voluntary sector is very dependent on retired volunteers, many over seventy.
Oxfam cannot handle new donations because of reduced volunteers, and are likely not to open from tomorrow because they have not enough staff.
British Heart Foundation cannot handle donations for similar reasons. They will also have closures when they do not have enough volunteers.
The town centre was busy on Monday with the Market in town. It was quieter today, Tuesday, but people were still stocking up on essentials. Items running low included: eggs, flour, pasta, long life milk, disinfectant, toilet rolls, paracetamol, tinned fruit and tinned vegetables. Waitrose got a delivery of toilet rolls but it was gone in 44 minutes. A similar thing happened at Savers.
Chemists have run out of hand sanitisers and face masks.
The two town centre surgeries are checking people before they go into the waiting room to ensure they do not have a fever or any symptoms.
The roads were quiet with people from Miele and other Abingdon companies increasingly working from home from today.
On Wednesday at Preston Road Community Centre (PRCC) the South Abingdon Partners Network met. This networking event happens about every two months and brings together people active in South Abingdon so that they can explain what they are working on and look at ways of helping each other or using each other’s service. There were over twenty people there. Every two months the makeup of attendees changes.
Here is a quick rundown of some of the groups:
- Inspiring minds – run courses (cooking) and activities (Hope Cafe)
- Study Higher ( support students from less academic backgrounds to consider higher education)
- Healthy Abingdon
- Abingdon Fridge ( give away unused food)
- Yellow Submarine ( activities for learning disabled teenagers)
- Vale of White Horse District Council (were promoting a Job Fair and IDEAs – digital Duke of Edinburgh awards)
- NHS – Talking Space Plus (help people get active through talking therapies, volunteering or back to work)
- DWP – Job Centre Plus (current focus on Single Parents and Women into Work)
- Employment and Training officer at Sovereign Housing (gives advise sessions)
- Carousel – South Abingdon Children’s Centre
- Abingdon Damascus youth outreach
- Vineyard Church (runs youth group and toddler group)
- PCSO – Police Community Support Officer
- Friends of Abingdon Civic Society (offer Community Freespace to groups)
- Thameside Primary School
A Job Fair will be held on April 30th. A number of the people had a direct input into that effort so that became one area of discussion and collaboration.
There was quite a lot of talk between the people interested in getting people back to work that for one reason or another needed support, and help when things go wrong.
The Disability Employment Advisor at the Job Centre talked about additional support and funding than can be provided to help people into work. Employers can become Disability Confident employers and take a community lead in giving equal opportunities to people with disabilities.