Set up in March 2020 as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Haslington Support Group (also known as Haslington Volunteer Group) has developed a vital role in the community by recruiting around 400 volunteers who have supported over 600 households in Haslington, Winterley, Oakhanger and nearby villages.
Helped by the Cheshire East Social Action Partnership, Haslington Support Group was established as a Volunteer Coordination Point, part of a virtual volunteer network covering the eight Cheshire East Care Communities to coordinate volunteers locally and provide a single point of contact through which to channel support, advice, and communications.
Over the last 12 months, Haslington Support Group has provided a vast range of support such as collecting and delivering prescriptions (including urgent out of hours emergency prescriptions), shopping for vulnerable residents, collecting and delivering food hampers and food donations, providing transport to and from appointments, delivering Christmas Newsletter information booklets, checking on residents with befriending phone calls, immediate response to urgent requests for help and assistance with the flu jab programme.
Social Action Partnership also provided support with a successful application for funding from Cheshire East Council’s Community Response and Recovery Grant. This has enabled Haslington to develop a partnership with Alsager Community Support, Sandbach Town Council, and Middlewich Town Council to provide items such as masks and sanitisers, information leaflets, banners, advertising materials for community engagement sessions and ID cards for volunteers.
As well as the more routine support provided, there are numerous accounts of Haslington Support Group going above and beyond expectations, including arranging donations and deliveries of furniture, toys, bedding, clothing and food to a single mother of six who moved into the area just before the first lockdown. Or liaising with GPs when dementia clients got confused with their medication.
Phil McKnight, Chair of Haslington Support Group said ‘It has been a challenging year but I am delighted with the support that our volunteers have provided during this pandemic. We could never have foreseen the incredible response from within our community and I am proud to live in an area where so many people want to contribute their time for the benefit of others. I’d also like to thank Social Action Partnership for their support, working as a Volunteer Coordination Point as a partnership network in Cheshire East has been highly beneficial and the support with funding applications is very welcome”.
The picture shows volunteers collecting a cheque this month from the Co-op Community Fund to pay for a volunteer ‘thank you’ tea party when it’s safe to do so.
Read more about the work of Haslington Support Group here.