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’.”

Thorpe Helping Hands volunteer group supports local community during coronavirus crisis

A grassroots support group has been set up by Thorpe St Andrew residents, who have recruited volunteers to help those in the community affected by the coronavirus lockdown.

Called Thorpe Helping Hands, the volunteer group has been supporting fellow residents since early April, assisting those who are self-isolating with shopping, prescriptions, food parcels, posting letters, gardening and ensuring that “no one is left behind”.

As many people don’t have access to social media and the internet, volunteers printed leaflets that were delivered to every household in the parish, informing the community that help and support was available. Thorpe Helping Hands has now recruited more than 70 local volunteers and supported more than 60 individuals and families in need during the coronavirus crisis.

Local businesses and individuals have also donated food and other necessities to support vulnerable families and individuals in the community – but more donations are needed, such as food essentials, personal items and play materials for children such as books, puzzles and art supplies.

Inga Kenny, Thorpe Helping Hands’ coordinator, said: “We are very grateful to the local people, businesses and organisations who have already been very generous – giving their time and food donations, puzzles, games and books to help those who have been hit by this crisis. There are, however, still many families and individuals in need of food and other essentials, to support not only their physical health but also their mental wellbeing.”

The group is also working with Lionwood Infant and Junior schools to help support their vulnerable families, with food parcels put together with donations from local businesses and individuals.

Glenda Prior, parent support advisor at Lionwood, said: “The support is needed in our community as it enables us to connect with our whole community. It lets us reach out and care for one another, hold out a hand or a voice when people are at their most vulnerable.

“It links communities together, to understand one another and the needs – not to hide but to share everybody’s abilities, to all be equal. Community cohesion is vital in order for us all to belong and be safe.

“This support may help to put us back on this road when the world had sped up so much and was leaving lots of us behind. The support from Thorpe Helping Hands is not just a provision for supporting those in need but a key part to forming a new community that recognises and understands everyone’s needs.”

The group organisers aim to establish Thorpe Helping Hands as a permanent Norfolk Good Neighbour scheme, with the support of Community Action Norfolk (CAN).

This will help the valuable work to continue, and also offer support and safeguarding for volunteers.

Community Action Norfolk is offering guidance, policies and links to other groups, to bolster the support offered by Thorpe Helping Hands both during and after the pandemic.

Thorpe Helping Hands’ message is: “If you are in a household that needs help in any way, please don’t hesitate to call us. We also offer a ‘check and chat’ service by phone to support people feeling isolated or anxious during this crisis. No one gets left behind.”

Week 2

Thanks to all our volunteers and the kind generosity of the Pilling Park Community Centre, we had another successful day of deliveries.

We delivered 28 food parcels which, on our second week, is a real achievement, and wouldn’t have been possible without the spirit everyone has adopted through this challenging time. In total this feeds over 100 people for this week alone.

Based around donations customers at Thorpe Plant Centre, who have continued to provide for people throughout the pandemic, we have been able to deliver high quality produce to families identified as most in need. In addition, we have started delivering parcels on behalf of the council.

Also, thank you to one of our volunteers who bought mince and sausages – a real treat to those receiving the parcels. 

I’d also like to personally thank Geoff at Morrison’s, who has been able to accomodate us despite us being such a new organisation. His help, in addition to public donations, have really aided us in meeting the needs of those who need it. 

Until next week,

THH

Our first distribution

We had such a good day on Friday as, thanks to various private and supermarket donations, plus support from Lionwood School and our fab team of volunteer packers and drivers, we were able to deliver 12 good size food parcels to families in need in Pilling Park area of Thorpe Hamlet. This week, we hope to do even more! A call for donations, in any capacity, would be much appreciated.

So, if you are able to help with this – especially spread word to friends, family and wider community, please do.

We are developing some really strong relationships with those in the local area and we thank-you for your growing support.

THH – Thorpe Helping Hands

Welcome

Our first big event is distribution of food parcels for some families situated around Pilling Park School.

If you are able to help out in providing supplies (currently we are looking mainly for fruit & veg, we would love to hear from you).

Please contact us on 07854 390 408 or send an email to thorpehelpinghands@gmail.com

For updates, join us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/199054431384907/

Thankyou!