In January 2020, the south Cheshire charity The Wishing Well was busy striving to achieve its Mission to “Improve the health and wellbeing of local people”. This was delivered by providing advice, guidance and running a full programme of clubs, activities and educational courses for supported adults, older people and children and families. In addition, they were reaching approximately 100 people per day with their ‘meals delivery’ service.
In March 2020 everything changed. As the severity of the pandemic was realised, all contact-based services were suspended and The Wishing Well’s mission was temporarily changed to:
‘To reach as many vulnerable people as possible during the pandemic.’
Attention and resources were focused on four key areas: meal delivery; telephone befriending; shopping and prescription collections; and advice and guidance.
Within days, meal deliveries doubled, reaching 210 per day at its peak. The telephone befriending service, previously ceased, was brought back and proved a vital support for those who could no longer attend their courses, day-care provision and lunch clubs. Hundreds of people were supported with shopping and prescription deliveries and phone lines were busy giving advice and guidance to the increasingly anxious public.
The Wishing Well’s full Covid Response Impact Report March 2020-21 can be found here. This details some staggering achievements such as over 54,000 fresh meals delivered, almost 3,000 friendship phone calls made and 600 visits to vulnerable older people. Deservedly, in May 2020 The Wishing Well received a letter of thanks from the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire on behalf of HM The Queen for their Covid response.
Gill Tarrant of The Wishing Well said “I am very proud of our achievements and how we changed the focus of our support so quickly to enable us to meet the needs of our local community. It has been a challenging year and although we still don’t have all of our services running, we can still offer a wide range of support”.
This is a powerful example of how important our Voluntary, Community, Faith and Social Enterprise (VCFSE) sector has been over the last 12 months. Organisations and groups have rallied to react quickly to the Covid pandemic, connect with communities and vulnerable people and shown real innovation and leadership.
The Wishing Well is looking for more volunteers to help with the Meal Delivery Service. Please find more information here.