The Brentwood Community Hub is appealing for volunteers to step forward and help those who are struggling during the latest Covid-19 restrictions set to last until December 2. Donations of food, toiletries and essentials are also needed to ensure that the Community Hub can keep up with demand which has increased dramatically since the Lockdown came into force on November 5.
Chair of Community and Health Committee, Cllr Cliff Poppy said; “Last week was quite touch and go for some of the fantastic groups that are supporting our community as demand for their services shot up. We are facing a perfect storm with the new restrictions, winter coming and people dealing with financial difficulties. Many of those now using these services have found themselves in a situation that they never thought they would have to face, and this is on top of tending to the needs of those who are vulnerable, elderly or on their own. We are fortunate in Brentwood that we have such a strong network of voluntary groups and services but also that our residents are so quick to help when called upon. The response during the first Lockdown with donations of food and supplies to the hub was extraordinary and was a credit to our borough. I am asking everyone to once again pull together and help the Community Hub to help those in need. Donations can be left in Covid secure boxes outside the Town Hall and we plan to do a Can in the Van appeal again soon at our local supermarkets. Every little helps whether it is a food donation or your time, so whatever you can give, rest assured it is going to make a difference to those who need a helping hand.”
The Community Hub is a central store at the Town Hall for various groups from across the borough to use. The Hub is made up of volunteers and voluntary groups who are all doing their bit to support people in Brentwood. They include:
The Daily Bread Café
Due to the new lockdown restrictions the café itself has had to close, but continues to open for food collections. It has seen a huge increase as winter approaches with many more shops now signing up to the scheme that allows volunteers to collect out of date or near out of date food donations to contribute to the service offered.
Donations can be dropped off any morning except Sunday to St Peters Church Hutton CM131JS or to the Town Hall if they are collecting food. We need tins and packets of good and any toiletries.
Manna Meals continues to support families by suppling homemade frozen meals through the daily bread pop up café and also the community hub at the town hall. Mutual Aid and the light house furniture project have been assisting in distributing these to families. Manna Meals will continue to support families and the vulnerable in the lead up to the festive period.
Brentwood Mutual Aid
Volunteers are still needed to help with increased demand since the new Covid-19 Lockdown restrictions were brought in. From around 50 people a week the group helped 85 last week with collecting medications, shopping and emergency food needs. It offers frozen meals and has set up links with Brentwood and Thurrock MIND to help ease the referral process for those with more complex befriending needs. Contact details 01277 424 953
The Lighthouse Furniture Project
Due to the current Lockdown restrictions the Lighthouse is running an appointment only service for those needing essential items. Demand for the items the Lighthouse sells ranging from electrical items to furniture has risen dramatically since August and the charity is working to respond to the increased needs. The charity is also helping with food distribution through the Brentwood Community Hub. Contact details: referral@lighthousefurniture.
Brentwood Resident Action Group
During lockdown BRAG (Brentwood Resident Action Group), were shopping for all those who were shielding, vulnerable or key workers. It also picked up shopping and befriending jobs via Essex Welfare and donated food weekly to all sheltered accommodation across Brentwood and surrounding areas. As the first Lockdown lifted, BRAG’s focus became more on donations and befriending. Many people were wanting to gain independence and shop for themselves. However, since entering into Lockdown 2 there has an increase in demand for shopping as people are understandably wanting to shield. The need for befriending calls has risen too.
The group desperately need more volunteers to sign up. BRAG’s Molly Miller said; “Whether you can offer an hour a week to help deliver donations locally, do a small shop or a phone call. Just 1 hour a week makes a huge difference. Ideally for shopping/donations you will need a drivers license and but not essential a DBS. BRAG deliver shopping and donations in pairs due to safeguarding both users and volunteers. Many of our volunteers have regulars and it’s helped both parties with coping in these extreme times.” Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to volunteer Facebook BragBrentwood and Twitter @bragbrentwood
West Horndon Community Help Hub
This is a small group of volunteers under the leadership of a local resident – Beverly Petty – that was formed as soon as news of the lockdown was given and leafleted all properties in the Parish giving details of the assistance that was available. The services of the volunteer group were well used with at least 30 vulnerable or elderly residents asking for help with regard to shopping, collecting or delivering prescriptions, collecting parcels or general welfare issues. Numbers started to fall during lockdown with neighbours and family taking over some of the tasks so that by the end of lockdown the number of local residents receiving assistance had fallen to around ten people. The Community Help Hub also provided reassurance phone calls to those residents who experienced social isolation and anxiety. It is expected that demand for delivering and collecting prescriptions will grow as the weather deteriorates and vulnerable and elderly will feel less able to attend the local doctors’ surgery in person. Also, with some residents less inclined to venture out, it may prove necessary for food to be purchased on their behalf and credit extended from funds made available by the Borough Council to the Parish Council until reimbursement can be achieved. An increase in reassuring phone calls is also expected as the cold weather and longer evenings will make residents feel more isolated.
Contact details: Telephone: 07756 962034 E-Mail: email@example.com
Vita Health Group This free and confidential NHS service for adults over 18 registered with a GP in the Basildon or Brentwood area continues to offer a full service over the phone or through a secure video link. Free Covid-19 webinars are easily accessible and available online to provide extra support through the pandemic. Aimee Wray from the Vita Health Group Partnership said; “We will continue to increase accessibility and offer a full service. We will be offering more Long-term conditions webinars over the next couple of months as well. We are also working with local services to understand the needs of the local community and develop the service to meet these needs. It would be great if residents could help signpost people to our service. We support people with anxiety, social anxiety, depression, PTSD, panic and long-term conditions (which impacts their mental health).” Contact details: Vitaminds IAPT Service Phone: 01268 977 171 Enquiries Email: firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.vitahealthgroup.
The Blackmore Community Hub which operates in Blackmore, Wyatts Green, Hook End and Stondon Massey. Collection of prescriptions, food or just a chat on the phone are some of the options our volunteers are more than happy to carry out. Contact details: 01277 821464 between 9.00am and 3.00pm.