With the summer heatwave in full swing, volunteers at Thorpe Helping Hands have been tirelessly supporting people across their community.
Last week’s food parcel delivery was the biggest yet, with 87 households receiving much-needed supplies – up from about 70 during the previous week.
It’s all thanks to generous donations from local firms and individuals, and hard-working teams of volunteer packers and delivery drivers.
Pilling Park Community Centre is a hive of activity on Fridays, as the food and other essentials are carefully allocated then sent out to households – with social distancing of course!
We’ve also heard back from some of those who are receiving parcels to say how much the deliveries have been appreciated.
Our ‘Check & Chat’ service is also expanding. We have five people who make weekly befriending calls to 10 residents who are lonely or isolated, and who appreciate the chance for a catch-up.
Meanwhile, five others are training to become a ‘Check and Chat’ volunteer and more are welcome.
‘Check and Chat’ was featured in an interview on Radio Norfolk, when Inga Kenny – one of the organisers of Thorpe Helping Hands – spoke about the service as part of Loneliness Awareness Week.
Our service was also the subject of an article on the Lumi website, which collects and shares information about community spaces, activities and volunteer groups.
Elsewhere, the work being done by Thorpe Helping Hands has been featured by Community Action Norfolk, a charity which supports volunteer groups across the county.
Other articles are in the pipeline as we continue to spread the word about our services – which means we can recruit more volunteers and reach more people who may need support.
We have more young people signing up as volunteers and they’re helping to sew face masks, and pack up the food parcels each Friday.
Several of our teenage volunteers are also writing letters to residents in care homes, to keep the older folk in touch with the younger generations.
The group is making great progress with its plans to become a permanent fixture within the community. We have established a committee and we also have several other volunteers who are keen to be involved with developing different initiatives, such as community activities, social media, support for volunteers, skill-share/Good Neighbours scheme, possible food co-operative and more.
The committee is working with other local organisations and charities to make sure we have the correct procedures and due diligence in place, which will enable us to establish Thorpe Helping Hands as a long-term mutual aid group.