Timberscombe Good Neighbours was formed by volunteers in February 2020 and provides a range of support including transport for medical appointments, collection of prescriptions, and shopping for the predominantly older local community in this rural Exmoor village.
The group received an initial grant from Somerset Community Foundation to cover the set-up costs, and an additional follow-up grant to help them meet the huge increase in demand for their support. Lesley Webb, Treasurer of Timberscombe Good Neighbours, told us more about how they are helping people in need.
“We began in February with 11 volunteers. Within weeks the lockdown measures had been put in place and we were reduced to just two active volunteers, while the remainder were in self-isolation. With the free shoppers’ bus and hospital transport cancelled and a massive increase in requests for support from the community this presented quite a challenge.
The Timberscombe spirit came to the fore and the scheme’s co-ordinator, Joy Booth, quickly managed to bring more volunteers on board to cope with the huge demand for help. Many people in the community are self-isolating but most missed out on supermarket delivery slots. We had to find ways to plan for long-term sustainability to cover the demand. Those who classified as very vulnerable were encouraged and helped to secure reserved online delivery slots, whilst others were given handy tips on the best way to get deliveries.
Some of the additional Somerset Coronavirus Appeal grant money was used to purchase fruit and vegetables to sell in the village Post Office. Our website sends daily email updates to our community, sharing good practice and handy tips. We also provide a wide range of information for different interests, with residents trying online ballet, belly-dancing, theatre, films, mental health courses and much more besides!
The much-appreciated support from SCF has enabled us to cope with the surge in demand which had previously necessitated volunteers paying for additional expenses out of their own pockets and enabled them to continue their amazing work.”