Guide East Devon residents Coronavirus update - 29 May 2020

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7. What’s happening in Whimple - An update from Katie from Whimple Volunteers.

It all started with a Facebook post back in March, asking people to look out for their neighbours, or ask for help if anyone needed it. We quite quickly realised though that the most vulnerable in our community probably wouldn't see a Facebook post. It was suggested that we needed to do a letterdrop to ensure that every house in Whimple was covered. A Facebook group was set up, which now has 120 members and is very active. We got together a group of volunteers from this Facebook page to cover all the houses in the village. Within a few days the majority houses in Whimple received details of their local volunteer so anyone self-isolating knew who to contact if they needed help.

We now have 22 lead neighbourhood volunteers, one for each area of Whimple, each of those 22 people has a small team behind them who can step in to help if needed. We’ve been mainly helping people who are vulnerable or self-isolating get food and other essential supplies. We’ve all got into a good rhythm and are getting to know and make friends with the people we’re helping regularly, who we might never have met before. The volunteers have found the way that works best for each of them and the people they’re helping, the people I’m helping give me lists and money and I go to Whimple Village Shop each day for them.

One fantastic volunteer has organised Whimple’s volunteer prescription collection service. She co-ordinates a rota of volunteers who go and pick up prescriptions for vulnerable self-isolating people twice a week, and we can also pick them up urgently if needed. We were inundated with requests for this service to begin with, which came as a bit of a surprise, but now the rota is in place it is running very smoothly.

One of Whimple’s lovely residents has also been making tasty hot homemade meals (following food hygiene standards) and delivering them to vulnerable self-isolating residents on a Saturday evening to make sure that at least once a week they eat a healthy, hot, homemade, nutritious meal. He makes an average of 25 meals a week and was paying for most of it out of his own pocket, we’ve just received a much needed grant from East Devon District Council’s Coronavirus Community Fund Fund so he can keep providing this valuable service. Thank you!

Whimple Church have organised Whimple Foodbank. They’ve put a collection box for donations of food and other essential supplies in the porch of the Church. The Church regularly empty the donation box, parcel the food up and give it out for free to people in the parish that are in food poverty.

The volunteers have also been offered homemade facemasks, free of charge from one of our villagers.

Lastly but by no means least, we really don’t know what we would have done without Whimple Village Shop! They have stayed open throughout, 7 days a week, even though there are only the two of them staffing the shop now due to social distancing and other Government guidance. They’re closing at lunchtime so they can safely re-stock the shelves and hopefully grab themselves something to eat and have a well-deserved but probably brief sit down.

I’m so proud of Whimple and the way we’ve all pulled together to help each other, and particularly to help the most vulnerable in our community. Even though it’s for terrible reasons and is such difficult circumstances, it is heartening to see such great examples of community spirit, thank you to everyone who is continuing to help our fabulous village” 

If you’re in need in the parish of Whimple, or would like to offer your help contact:
• Kevin Finch, Whimple Parish Council Clerk on 01404 823385.
• Katie Williams, Whimple Co-ordinator, on 07967 374769 or by email: Katie.silkydesigns@gmail.com
• Sue Ayers, Whimple Co-ordinator on 01404 823082.