Volunteers helping vulnerable and elderly residents beyond lockdown

Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette

Since the start of the pandemic we’ve been talking on air about Brentwood Mutual Aid, which started as a self-organising community page on Facebook to support the vulnerable and isolated in our community during the Covid-19 outbreak and beyond.

Even though lockdown has been gradually listed to the extent that most restrictions are no longer in place, Brentwood Mutual Aid continue to sees demand from elderly and vulnerable residents in our community needing assistance.

Our daytime presenter Patrick Sherring welcomed in Lynn Connolly, a Trustee of Brentwood Mutual Aid, and vaccine volunteer Gill Bell.

Lynne told us that the group began in March 2020 in response to community needs brought into sharp focus by the pandemic, and very quickly there were over 1,000 volunteers, organsied to assist people through neighbourhood WhatsApp groups across the borough.

People helped with the everyday realities such as shopping, collecting prescriptions, anything that vulnerable people could not undertake through being in lockdown. Social isolation was highlighted by the pandemic and now many volunteers are engaged in befriending.

With the development of the vaccine and the opening of centres, volunteers were need to assist those attended. Gill decided to have a go at this role and stated that after one day she was hooked.

Many of the first people attending for vaccinations were vulnerable people who needed reassurance. With many volunteers no longer available through returning to work, children back at school etc, there is an urgent need for more vaccine volunteers.

There are many people with needs across the community and the more people who are volunteers, the more people can be helped. Both Lynn and Gill said that volunteers give as little or as much time as they can.

More information is available by phoning 01277 424953 and also be visiting the website www.brentwood-mutual-aid.org. There is also a Facebook group with over 2500 members. This includes information on resources that are available – search Facebook for Brentwood Mutual Aid and you will find it. And you can also hear Patrick’s interview with Lynn and Gill on phoenixfm.com.

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