So much achieved in so little time!
Ashburton is an exceptional town that has always had a strong community spirit, but this time of unprecedented international crisis has brought out the very best in our community. We are blessed with town councillors and community groups who are passionate about our community and are working together to support the town, its residents and its businesses. The Ashburton Community Covid Response Team was formed early in the crisis and has worked tirelessly to develop the support that this town needs.
The team have attracted nearly 250 volunteers to support the community.
Volunteers make up a number of teams each fulfilling a critical role - taking calls, picking up shopping and making deliveries, picking up medication, phoning those in need of a chat or a sympathetic ear, handling communications, manning the extended foodbank and transporting people to important appointments.
A new helpline phone system has been built and is manned by over 40 call handlers and trained counsellors - there is a new number to call: 01364 255919
Safety protocols have been developed and put in place to protect the volunteers and the town's population - picking up shopping and making deliveries are handled with your safety in mind.
The foodbank is being expanded - at this time, any one of us may find ourselves unable to shop for ourselves, whether through illness or circumstance, and the team have prepared for this.
One group is making facemasks to protect our volunteers and other key workers, including our shop keepers.
With support from the Ashburton & Buckfastleigh Hospital League of Friends the team have bought a London cab - the perfect vehicle to transport people safely to and from important appointments.
Our convenience stores have been quick to find ways to meet increased demand and have remained stocked when bigger supermarkets have struggled.
Many of the independent town traders have found ways to adapt their businesses to support the community - from restaurants producing frozen and takeaway meals to businesses adjusting their hours so they can take food orders over the phone and then make deliveries. The Chamber of Trade is actively looking for ways to support our local shops that are becoming increasingly important to us.
Communication is critical to keep people informed and the town facebook page membership has swelled but has also been joined by the Ashburton Community Covid Response Team group. The town web site ashburton.org provides key information updates and the new ashburton.shop site keeps us up to date with the services being delivered by the shops in the town. Notable members of the community are also recording short video messages to keep us informed.
Finally - the town has donated generously. Funding is needed to support our volunteers in their various tasks. It is also needed to support those who may find themselves temporarily unable to support themselves financially. Our £2,500 fundraiser has raised £2,850 so far and is still going and every penny counts!
Ashburton has pulled together. We have a great support network that has achieved so much in so little time but are taking our own part seriously. When it is necessary to go into town we find people queuing politely at a safe distance from one another and following the guidelines issued by the shops - we respect the safety of others and recognise that this is the key to beating this crisis. And we will beat this crisis by continuing to pull together!
Stay safe, stay home, help the NHS, save lives!