9. West Hill Parish Council Help Scheme tell their story
“On Friday the 13th March (!) the Parish Council quarterly newsletter was ready to be distributed to all of the houses in the village. News of the coronavirus pandemic was making headlines and Councillors quickly added an item offering help and support. The West Hill Parish Council Help Scheme was born.
West Hill - what an amazing village! Very quickly more than 80 people volunteered to help. With many vulnerable and self-isolating people in the community the presence of a dedicated Help Scheme and such a large number of volunteers gave a great deal of peace of mind given the uncertainties ahead.
There were many ideas but we wanted to keep things as simple as possible. We soon got ourselves organised using the Parish Council as the focal point for enquiries, information and services, with a central phone number and the Parish Clerk as Co-ordinator. Over recent months the Help Scheme has certainly been busy
- providing information, signposting services available in the village and further afield
- distributing regular newsletters to every household
- keeping the West Hill Facebook page updated with the latest news and advice
- collecting and delivering 400+ prescriptions so far thanks to our dynamic duo, Dave and Clive
- helping with shopping,
- keeping spirits up with be-friending phone-calls
- publishing an up-to-date list of shops, opening hours and those firms delivering to the village
- hospital transport
- and responding to various challenges along the way
The past few months have been a challenging time for everyone. However, there been many “positives” of lockdown:
- residents of the village continue to show amazing community spirit and have got to meet new people across the village
- It’s been wonderful to hear so many stories of shopping buddies and neighbourliness
- Our village shop McColls has never been busier or more valued by residents
- A side-effect of lockdown has been that residents have discovered local food suppliers from farm shops to Exmouth Trawlermen.
- Contributions to the Ottery Foodbank have increased, co-ordinated by St Michael’s West Hill.
- Sewing groups making face masks for the NHS and carers.
- Thanks to the good weather residents have taken the opportunity to really explore the village and surrounding areas. The village footpaths have never been busier.
As lockdown begins to be lifted the Help Scheme will continue on a “business as usual” basis while we assess how the community needs change.
West Hill Parish Council Help Scheme
Tel 01404 232 100