Small Charity Week’s #AppreciationDay celebrates the contribution that small community groups have made to people’s lives during the coronavirus pandemic across the country.
Here in North Yorkshire, Bedale’s response to the coronavirus crisis has been a story of enormous community spirit and teamwork. The Mutual Aid group was launched on 16 March, a week before lockdown, and within 24 hours 600 local people had joined the Facebook group. Within a fortnight, more than a third of the townsfolk were members. Nearly 200 people registered with the group as volunteers and it was soon possible to match many of them up with up those in need. 20 group admins worked together to monitor a helpline and develop a coordinated range of services.
Shortly after lockdown began, Hall’s Fish and Chip shop contacted the Bedale Mutual Aid group to offer free fish and chips to the elderly and needy in the town. The group identified a number of self-isolating beneficiaries, many of whom would not otherwise be able to have a hot meal. Volunteer Dave Oakes has since developed the service and now over 50 beneficiaries receive weekly fish and chips plus homemade soup and bread donated by the Hummingbird Café. Dave makes deliveries 6 days a week.
On Mothers’ Day, a group of Bedale volunteers organised a delivery of letters and gifts to the residents and team at Leeming Bar Grange Care Home. Lidl also donated roses. The team posted on Facebook saying: “These acts of kindness are huge in promoting everyone’s wellbeing and we are all so, so grateful to be part of such an amazing community.”
Rhyme Time is a group run by Bedale Community Library for children preschool age which normally meets every week for nursery rhymes and stories. When the library had to close Library volunteer Hannah Calland set up a Facebook group to enable the sessions to take place online. No less than 86 parents joined the group.
Support for community groups
If you are a community group delivering similar services, please let share your stories with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit our coronavirus page here to keep up to date with the support we offer.