Gotherington Oxenton Woolstone Neighbour Scheme
Barely six months after GOWNS celebrated ten years of serving the community, everything changed in March with the Covid 19 movement restrictions and social distancing requirements. With members not being able to give lifts, GP surgeries largely unavailable for face-to-face consultations and most shops closed, nobody was going anywhere.
There was, however an urgent need to provide a shopping service for those unable to get out and without family or local support so GOWNS set out to fulfil this need. The offer to help was quickly taken up by an IT savvy team, led by Peter and Lucy Barbour, who set up the ‘Gotherington Covid call-out’ WhatsApp group, which became a most effective shopping channel for people needing food and other supplies. In the meantime Waitrose made a number of free grocery drops to the village, followed by some priority, bulk community shopping orders, delivered to us. These were sorted in the Old Chapel and delivered to households. We owe thanks to those who donned masks and gloves, and moved among the community.
Although shopping requests were directed via the GOWNS coordinator of the week initially, the WhatsApp group soon became autonomous and group members got to know their regular ‘customers’. This network facilitated direct local contact and support between neighbours, which has strengthened the community in a positive way. It continues to work well and is one of the good things to come out of a difficult situation. We know these networks have been replicated all over the country.
GOWNS was pleased to welcome Emily Charnock as a new coordinator and Kirsty Bradbury as a returning volunteer. Their support was immediately appreciated. More volunteers, perhaps from the WhatsApp group, would be welcome to continue the injection of new blood into GOWNS.
While the future remains uncertain, we can only remain positive and GOWNS will determine when and if it is appropriate to start offering lifts by car for essential needs.
In the meantime stay safe and be good neighbours.
Gowns Helpline 07752 152485. Help available subject to social distancing.
Do you need help with:
– transport to the shops, doctor, hospital or to local social events
– small DIY tasks, internet usage, help with minor household problems
– official form filling
– emergency childcare or carer illness
– recuperation after illness or treatment
or just simply a chat, in fact, anything of an occasional or emergency nature?
Or do you know someone who does?
GOWNS is a voluntary good neighbour initiative run by residents of the three villages with financial backing from the Parish Council and the Parish Church. Its aim is to provide help to any resident of the three villages, whatever their age and circumstances and particularly those who are older or disabled.
This is not an exhaustive list, tell us your need and we will try to fulfil it!
Please note that GOWNS is not intended to replace Social Services or provide long term care or assistance.
The scheme is operated by a team of volunteers who take requests for assistance on the scheme’s mobile phone and arrange for the task to be done by a volunteer with the necessary skills. There is no charge for this service, but clients can be asked to cover expenses incurred and pay for such things as car parking, shopping, etc. Fuel costs are currently charged at 45p/mile.
More volunteers are always needed to extend the range and number of tasks that can be taken on. If you feel you can help, please telephone the Duty Co-ordinator.
If you need assistance or just want to know more about GOWNS, please telephone the Duty Co-ordinator: 07752 152485
All volunteers are Disclosure & Barring Service (DBS) checked and fully insured
Download and keep the GOWNS help card, which contains lots of useful numbers and more information about GOWNS.
We have been running in the village now for 10 years and celebrated our 10th anniversary with a tea party for all our volunteers: