We may be in challenging times, but in amongst the worrying news are small acts of kindness and community spirit that can raise a smile and make us feel happier.
We shall be reporting on the good news around our District – please share yours with us too, at firstname.lastname@example.org
A vital lifeline for older people in Hart has been meeting virtually to give members and volunteers the opportunity to join together each week, while the physical club is temporarily closed.
The Brendoncare Fleet and Crookham Welcome Club has been offering a variety of activities, including playing and listening to the ukulele, charades and book reviews. Members have also been sharing special stories on pieces of music they love, and reciting favourite poems and verses.
Sue Dee, Brendoncare Fleet and Crookham Club Volunteer, said: “It has been so good to be able to keep in touch with our club members during these difficult times. We have shared a lot of laughs and I have been very impressed to see how quickly they have embraced the new technology.”
Brendoncare Clubs is a well-established and trusted community service with 94 clubs across Hampshire and Dorset. They provide a friendly, fun, relaxed and supportive environment where older people can meet other club members, make friends and develop strong peer support networks.
The Brendoncare Fleet and Crookham Welcome Club usually meets every Wednesday, 2pm-4pm, at Guide Hall, Basingbourne Road, Fleet, Hampshire, GU52 6TQ. To learn more, call 01962 857099, email email@example.com or visit www.brendoncare.org.uk/clubs.
w/c 8 June
Since the lockdown the Council has been able to help more than 20 people find emergency accommodation, including support for three rough sleepers. We are committed to supporting residents who face homelessness, for whatever reason. It might be that they cannot pay their rent, or their landlord has asked them to leave, or simply that their housing situation has become untenable because of lockdown.
Last weekend, the housing team received a call about a man who had been living on the street around the country for more than five years - with 90 minutes of the call, the team had found him a new home.
If you need help, or are concerned that a person may be rough sleeping, call us on 01252 774239 during office hours or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Outside office hours please contact Streetlink by calling 0300 500 0914 or visiting www.streetlink.org.uk.
Elvetham Hotel had the fantastic opportunity to support a local charity, COVID-19 Fleet Aid Relief by giving them use of its kitchen facilities to make freshly home-cooked meals for the vulnerable in the community throughout this difficult time. Approx. 2,000 meals have been prepared in our kitchen so far – which is an amazing result.
w/c 1 June
The Emergency Response Community Grant was launched by the Council, in collaboration with Hampshire County Council, for those providing community support during the coronavirus pandemic. It enables both existing and new voluntary groups, as well as parish and town councils and schools to apply for grants of up to £500 each.
We have now awarded a total of £4,750 in grants to 10 local community groups and voluntary organisations which are supporting Hart residents to overcome practical difficulties as a result of COVID-19.
Three groups to receive grants recently are Fleet Lions, Yateley Industries and Age Concern Hampshire.
Fleet Lions were awarded a grant to support their project which refurbishes and distributes donated computers to children of families who cannot afford new ones, to help them to continue their studies. If you have a PC or laptop you no longer use and would like to donate this to the project, please email email@example.com.
Yateley Industries were allocated a grant to enable their staff to provide more regular support to their residents on site, helping them to stay safe and well, and to access practical assistance.
Age Concern Hampshire received an award to provide support to older people and people living with dementia and other conditions in Hart, including practical assistance such as the distribution of care packages.
Read more on the eligibility criteria and how to apply for the grants.
w/c 18 May
All this week we have been marking Mental Awareness Week and this year's theme is kindness. Many of our organisations and volunteering community display this every day, not just this week, and we would like to celebrate some of the good news that has been shared with us.
Since the lockdown, Mustard Seed Autism Trust, which supports local families, has been providing advice through email, phone and video calls and updating its website and social media with resources and ideas. A parent contacted the charity this week requesting information about a resource she had seen on its Facebook page (a Lego emotions chart - pictured). By the end of the day one of the team had made the resource and delivered it to her home, so they could start using it straightaway.
A big shout out to all of the volunteers who have made sure that local Scout groups can continue. Many, including those in Hartley Wintney and Yateley, have been running weekly Zoom sessions for its Scouts. Cubs and Beavers.
The Hampshire Carer Support and Dementia Advice Service has been working hard to ensure that vulnerable clients who do not use digital technology should not miss out on its support. As a symbol of recognition, the team decided to deliver some flowers along with an information pack, colouring poster and pencils and a team photo to 50 of its most vulnerable carers across Hampshire. Here are just some of the comments they received:
“Whilst trying to stay positive, we are living in times of great uncertainty. Your service gives us hope and shows light at the end of the tunnel.”
“Thank you. What a lovely surprise. This is the nicest thing that has happened to me in a long time.”
“I very much appreciate receiving the very pretty flowers which were delivered by a lovely lady. A reminder of the good support you offer.”
Local choir Hart Voices has been fundraising for mental health charity MIND by recording a single with another choir, Guildford Chantry Singers, and folk music band Ninebarrow. The single, The Hour of the Blackbird, was aired on Radio 2 this week – it can be heard at www.ninebarrow.co.uk/mind
w/c 11 May
Next week is Mental Health Awareness Week with the theme of ‘kindness’ – a message we can all support. We shall be sharing social media posts all week on the topic and below we promote some of the organisations making a difference:
Hart and Rushmoor Young Carers service has been running Zoom sessions with young carers each week led by our young adult leader volunteers. They've arranged virtual scavenger hunts, quizzes, 15-minute workouts and relaxing yoga. Last week was Festival Week and young carers were invited to come along to the Zoom sessions in their festival gear. Take a look at the Hart and Rushmoor Young Carers Facebook page to read about the activities and share some joy watching their entertaining videos. Well done to everyone involved! The service is still accepting referrals for young carers aged 7-18 years living in Hart and Rushmoor. To find out more, please contact Team Lead Lindsay Graham by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07983 030 689.
St Michael’s Hospice and Odiham Cottage Hospital Befriending Service is finding new ways to support people during the lockdown. Befrienders have been telephoning clients on a weekly basis to help prevent isolation, ensure arrangements are in place for any provisions they need and to make sure that clients are keeping safe and well. One of our befrienders very kindly introduced her client to playing bridge online with her friends – a simple solution which has meant she can continue to play a game she loves on a regular basis, as well as maintaining contact with friends.
Una Tilt, Befriending Service Manager, said: “During such a difficult period, it is humbling to see the genuine care and concern that the befriending volunteers have for their clients. The desire to make a difference in other people’s lives, is proof of the wonderful kindness there is within our local community.”
Home-Start Hampshire is a volunteer-led organisation supporting families across the county who are experiencing challenges. Support is usually provided 1-1 in the family’s home or in a group setting, however in line with current guidelines support is currently being provided via telephone, video calls and text.
One service user said: “I'm a mum of 15-month twins and I find the virtual support I'm getting from my Home- Start volunteer and the wellbeing group so valuable. The 121s (with my volunteer) allow me to air frustrations and talk about my week without judgement and she gives me coping strategies and so much encouragement when I feel so flat. The virtual wellbeing group is a great way for more mums to chat together as a group and realise we aren't alone even though going through this difficult time we may feel like it. I couldn't imagine coping without the wonderful support of the Home-Start charity”.
Home-Start Hampshire is still accepting new referrals and processing them as efficiently as possible, with full details of how to refer yourself of someone else available on the website www.home-starthampshire.org.uk or call 01252 398530.
w/c 4 May
The Blue Lamp Trust’s Bobby Scheme is one of Hart’s key partners and supports survivors of domestic abuse and stalking to feel safe and secure in their homes. Last week they were featured on BBC’s South Today and highlighted the work they do and the need for donations to help them to keep delivering important services. More than £3,000 was immediately donated following the programme - great community spirit. http://bluelamptrust.org.uk/
Thank you to Nestlé for their delivery of Easter eggs – treats those in need of support can still enjoy.
w/c 27 April
The community continues to rally round to do everything we can during this difficult time:
Waitrose has again made up food donations for the Hart Response Hub for those in urgent need of supplies. Thank you!
Staff at electronics firm Surface Technology International in Hook are working day and night to assemble new ventilators designed for COVID-19. The company is a key member of the VentilatorChallengeUK consortium, challenged to deliver the medical ventilators to the NHS at record pace. They aim to be producing 1,500 a week in the near future and are also working on several other medical projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
STI team with the latest batch of ventilators ready to be shipped back
to Penlon for final testing
w/c 20 April
Thank you to:
The Crondall and Ewshot Village Pump Group which delivered a free hot scampi and chips lunch, courtesy of the Hampshire Arms Pub in Crondall, to the front doors of 55 older people and have plans to extend the service.
Curt Moor School’s Design Technology Department which has manufactured 120 visors and 50 ear protectors for distribution in the local community, including Frimley Park Hospital, local pharmacies and care Homes. They hope to produce another 120 visors and 60 ear protectors for the community healthcare team and are being supported by a Council grant.
Robert Mays School for making face shields as modelled by Mr Cain, Head of Design Engineering, Miss Adams, PE teacher, and Mr Pluthero, school volunteer:
Waitrose for alerting the Hart Response Hub that one of their regular customers was struggling to shop for her disabled daughter and herself. We were able to arrange for a volunteer couple to undertake a weekly shop on behalf of the resident and deliver it to them and provide emotional support to the mum.
The volunteers helping a lady discharged from hospital with no family or friends around who needed a liquid-only, gluten’ diet. The volunteers had emergency soups out to her the same evening, someone to collect prescriptions and gave her a call for emotional support the following day. Within days, there were volunteers making her homemade broths to help build her up and provide some variety.
Church Crookham and Fleet Men’s Shed which is manufacturing between 80 and 100 ISO838 headbands with laminate visors per week for second-line care workers and care homes. Hart Voluntary Action has acted as an intermediary, gathering requests for supplies and distributing the final products using volunteer drivers.
Local Lions as HVA volunteers who have donated 20 refurbished computers and nine printers to disadvantaged children to help them with school work from home – with a further 30 requests to work through.
w/c 13 April
We start with this great picture from photographer and Hart resident Adrian Dennis, showing Priest-in-Charge Angie Smith using her smartphone to live-broadcast an Easter Sunday service to her congregation at dawn, from the churchyard of Old St Mary's Church in Hartley Wintney. Thanks Adrian for letting us reproduce.
There is also a big thank-you to Morrisons for donating Easter eggs to the Hart Response Hub which were delivered to those self-isolating or shielding in time for Easter Sunday.
In addition to support from Morrisons, we have received enormous help from other local supermarkets, including Waitrose stores in Yateley and Fleet which delivered £1,000 worth of food to be used in food parcels for the extremely vulnerable.
Councillor David Neighbour, Leader Hart District Council, said: “I would like to thank all those who have contributed to this initiative to support our most vulnerable residents. We had an overwhelming response to our appeal for volunteers and are most grateful to Waitrose, Tescos and Morrisons who are all supporting and serving our community in many ways.”
Supporting the vulnerable
We were so pleased to be able to help a lady in her mid-80s who needed to shop on a daily basis as she did not own a fridge. A new one has been bought for her and we have also linked her up with a volunteer who can help her with larger shops, so she no longer needs to be out and about where the risk, for her, is so much higher.
And, we were touched by feedback from one of our residents, who phoned to say a big thank-you to Hart – she’s a cancer patient and her consultant phoned us on her behalf as she had no food or support. We arranged a delivery of food and essentials from one of our staff members and she said the delivery driver was “lovely”!
Horizon Imaging in Fleet has been dedicating some of its working days to produce 3D-printed face shield parts to support the NHS.
This set will be taken to a local assembly point where the clear plastic and head elastic will be added, before the completed shields are sent to local NHS trusts and other people who are on the front line. More are in production.