LGIU health and social care round-up associate and parish councillor, Christine Heron, reports on what her village is doing to prepare for coronavirus. All of our Covid-19 resources are gathered in one place and from there you can also sign up to our regular Global-Local bulletin.
Barton St David is a village near Glastonbury with a population of around 550, and in the district of South Somerset. Like most villages, Barton St David got preparation underway very quickly. A group from the parish council, village hall, church and newsletter joined together to coordinate our response.
We put out a call through our email contacts, newsletter, Facebook and website for volunteers to help with shopping or collecting prescriptions, and for people who felt they needed help. Even before the call went out, people got in touch to volunteer and we now have around 50 people willing to help out in various capacities, with more joining every day. Some are over 70 so will focus on phone calls with people who feel isolated.
In the early days we found that villagers had strong links with family, friends or neighbours, so made their own arrangements. Now a handful of requests are coming through, including from outside the village, concerned about older family members. We are developing guidance for volunteers – like how to stay safe when doing people’s shopping, keeping social distance at all times, doing the minimum number of trips and how to make payments transparent. Our parish clerk is coordinating requests.
The parish council has met virtually, using video conferencing software, to discuss what more we can do and to agree an emergency budget allocation.
We know we are very lucky. We have a wonderful pub, community farm, farm shop and dairy that do deliveries. But like most villages, we have an ageing population, and many are at risk.
We have helpful county and district councillors and we are getting lots of information. But we don’t know what to expect. No one does. We are just doing whatever we can to improve communication, build up our volunteer base and tackle issues as they arise. And we wait.