The Lady in the van… Aylesbury Old Town volunteers take care of vulnerable locals #ProudofBucks
Outside the rectory in Aylesbury old town a new and unusual feature has appeared: a small, vintage caravan which is the HQ for Aylesbury Old Town Street Association.
Street Associations are set up across the country and in Buckinghamshire, 387 Street Members cover 290 streets. With support from around 100 businesses, they have trained 453 residents on community safety issues, and every road has a named contact. 17 new Street Associations formed in March which shows just how many people want to do their best to help during this time of crisis. You can find out more about help in your area here: directory.buckinghamshire.gov.uk
With the ongoing Covid-19 situation, Aylesbury Old Town Street Association, like many across the county, have risen to the challenge. A group of 12 volunteers are now taking care of 30 households in the old town, and have so far completed 49 shopping lists in the past two weeks.
The tiny caravan is being used as their organisational centre, and the volunteers go shopping early in the morning following all of the safe distancing guidelines. Sainsburys in Aylesbury town centre has been very supportive: lending two trolleys and allowing the volunteers to shop in a (social distanced) group for the vulnerable people in the old town at the beginning of the day. The volunteers wear Buckinghamshire Council ID to help people identify them clearly when they are out and about.
Tamara Zimmerman, wife of the Rector and one of the volunteers told us: “There is a silver lining in all of this. There’s a beautiful growing of community between the generations, as we all reach out and take care of each other. We hope that these new friendships, forged out of necessity, will continue far beyond the end of the social restrictions. We are planning to have a celebration when this is over!”
This case of organised, mutual volunteering in extraordinary times is not unique. Many communities in Buckinghamshire are working together to ensure those who need to stay safe are shielded properly.
From the top of the county in Buckingham where elderly locals had concerns about not being able to get to the post office to pay their rent – Aylesbury Vale Housing Trust reassured them all that there wouldn’t be any issues and they should remain inside till things were ok. Leaving this small group safe in the knowledge they wouldn’t get into trouble for non-payment.
To newly sprung partnerships like Woodstocks Coffee House in the very south working with local councillor Paul Kelly. They are delivering a free home-cooked meal on a daily basis to 16 elderly local Bucks residents currently in self-isolation.
Buckinghamshire Council’s Executive Portfolio Holder for Health and Culture Gareth Williams is keen to heap praise on the fantastic work going on in Buckinghamshire right now saying: ‘Those most at risk should know that their own communities are stepping in and helping. Local people, businesses and our own council staff are all on board and when I hear and see what amazing difference they are making it makes me Proud of Bucks.’
‘Whether you are providing support to one or two people or an entire area know that the what you all provide is a lifeline and we applaud you all.’
Don’t forget to view Martin Tett’s daily Vlog (Leader of Buckinghamshire Council) here https://www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/video-updates/
Follow @buckscc on Twitter to view more from #ProudofBucks