Not content with leaving it at clapping for carers, residents in Lewisham and across the country are stepping up to the challenge: here are a few stories of impressive local engagement, and long may this community spirit continue!
Lewisham Local volunteer shifts filled within 30 minutes
Only 30 minutes after Lewisham Council emailed its list of 1,000 new volunteers about helping vulnerable local residents, it filled up all advertised 210 volunteer shifts. This means that vital food parcels can start going out to vulnerable residents stuck at home within days.
Lewisham Local sent a congratulatory email to the list and added: ‘For those who did not manage to sign up in time – Sit tight! We will be releasing more shifts and more roles over the next week as the demand for support in the community continues to increase.’
Find out more and sign up to volunteer (or to request support) here.
The Help Lewisham Hospital Network
A group of Lewisham residents have mobilised and set up a food drop-in and grocery delivery service for NHS staff to ensure they have easy and free access to food and essential household items (e.g., toilet paper!). They started just a week ago on 23 March by coordinating donations of essential foods, household products and other essential materials from businesses in the Lewisham and surrounding areas.
In their own words, ‘Our goal is to help our vital NHS workforce stay as safe and healthy as possible, and to help them maximise their rest time. We also want them to avoid unnecessary vectors of Covid19 transmission (specifically, supermarkets and other busy shopping areas).’
Help Lewisham Hospital are based at The Point, at 401 Lewisham High Street next to Tesco Express and pretty much opposite Lewisham Hospital. NHS workers are welcome to drop in every day between 7am and 11pm to buy groceries. The group are using a donation fund to pay for the food boxes for any staff that are in financial trouble.
You can see more and donate on their GoFundMe page – ‘The NHS is our shield when we are ill, let’s try and be their shield now.’
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) appeals
In light of concerns that NHS staff do not have access to the appropriate protective equipment to be able to do their jobs safely, we have become aware of two nationwide voluntary initiatives to get equipment to frontline staff now.
NHS Hero Support are a collaborative group of volunteers with backgrounds in healthcare, procurement, comms, business, tech, fundraising and politics ‘who have been increasingly alarmed at the government’s failure to commit to speedily purchasing to increase our ventilator capacity and the lack of PPE on the ward for so many of our clinical friends.’
Their first delivery of protective equipment was to Lewisham Hospital just six days ago and the group say that they have been inundated with pleas for help from more hospitals where doctors are concerned for the safety of staff and patients.
You can see more and donate to the campaign on their GoFundMe page.
A similar initiative, Masks for NHS Heroes has today garnered the support of the famous actor, James McAvoy. This campaign is also led by healthcare experts who clarify that they are not competing with the government for sourcing this equipment, ‘we only wish to support their efforts.’ They have also stressed that unfortunately they ‘ARE … competing with private companies (and sadly, even other health care professionals) who are buying and selling PPE and testing kits privately, selling them for profit and exploiting public fears around coronavirus.’
Thanks to James McAvoy’s donation of £275,000, the group have been able to put in a new order for PPE immediately. You can see more about the campaign and donate to it on their Crowdfunder page.
Have you been getting involved locally or nationally? Let us know!