Week 3 – Thorpe Helping Hands volunteers make 100 deliveries of essentials

Thorpe Helping Hands – a grassroots volunteer group in Thorpe St Andrew – has completed its third round of deliveries, taking the total of packages delivered to more than 100.

More than 60 parcels were packed and delivered to local households in need on Friday (May 22) by a team of volunteers.

The number of parcels being delivered has grown quickly – the first week saw 12 households receiving packages; the second week saw 28; and the third week saw 61, bringing the total to 101.

The parcels contain essential supplies and have been donated by local residents and community organisations, with volunteers collecting donations from homes, charities and businesses over the course of each week.

On Fridays, the volunteers meet at Pilling Park Community Centre to pack the essentials into crates, making sure that supplies match the number of people in each household.

The crates are then loaded into volunteers’ cars and vans to be distributed to the households.

The Thorpe Helping Hands team has thanked all the residents and firms who have been donating items each week, as well as the volunteers who have collected and distributed the donations.

Inga Kenny, one of the coordinators at Thorpe Helping Hands, said: “We are very grateful for all the marvellous support we have had from the community. It has happened very quickly and we are so appreciative of everyone’s efforts.”

As well as individual donations, the group has received supplies from a local fruit and veg seller and local charitable organisations such as Norwich Food Hub and Norwich Homeless Appeal, whose websites are www.norwichfoodhub.co.uk and www.facebook.com/norwichhomelessappeal

Thorpe Helping Hands is working in partnership with Glenda at the Lionwood schools, based around the Pilling Park estate, to deliver parcels to families identified as most at need. Volunteers from Thorpe Helping Hands then coordinate plans and organise the deliveries to these families.

This would not be possible without the kind-hearted and community spirit of Baldassarre Guidone – aka Guido – the chair of Pilling Park Community Association. He has allowed us to use the brilliant space at the Community Centre.

The group also plans to distribute packages of art and craft materials next week to help families to keep youngsters entertained during the lockdown.

Inga added: “The coronavirus crisis means many residents are facing serious problems so it’s great that the community has come together to support those who need help.

“As well as the weekly distribution initiative, Thorpe Helping Hands is continuing with other services, such as ‘check-and-chat’ phone calls to isolated or lonely residents, and weekly shopping and prescription collections.

“More than 70 volunteers have signed up to help our group and more than 7,000 households in the Thorpe St Andrew and Thorpe Hamlet area have received our leaflets highlighting our services.

“We have fulfilled more than 60 individual requests of support from residents – which, in reality, is many more as many of our volunteers are supporting these residents with their weekly shop, prescription collection and other ad-hoc activities.”

“We are building on this early success by establishing Thorpe Helpings Hands as a permanent Norfolk Good Neighbour scheme, with support from Community Action Norfolk (CAN).

“It all means we can continue to fulfil our mission to ensure that ‘no one gets left behind’.”