When the Covid 19 Lockdown was announced, the Rotary Club of Chesham was very keen to help facilitate a wider volunteer Community of Chesham to help ensure immediate support to our more vulnerable neighbours on a town wide basis, with the ability to cater for differing numbers.
The group we are supporting is called Chesham Help for Coronavirus, and they provided all the volunteers. There were also volunteers who delivered prescriptions for local pharmacies and another team of volunteers who made well-being calls. Everyone doing an incredible job.
Rotary’s task was to ensure that immediate funds were made available to reimburse volunteer shoppers for individuals who were self-isolating and should not leave their homes.
There were early reports coming through of certain individuals exploiting the crisis for personal gain. Our President of The Rotary Club of Chesham was a leading member of a task force that came up with a process that ensured volunteer shoppers were reimbursed immediately for shopping - for individuals who could not leave their homes and shop for themselves.
Within days Rotary also organised the printing and delivery of a Help Leaflet to 9000 Chesham addresses to promote the Help for Coronavirus telephone help line. We did this twice so 18,000 leaflets were distributed.
This leaflet was paid for by Rotary Club of Chesham, Chiltern Chamber of Commerce and Buckinghamshire Council. A great example of organisations working collaboratively and being able to take urgent action within very tight legal constraints. Police permissions also had to be secured.
There are many people to thank who have put considerable effort in supporting Chesham through this ongoing Pandemic.
Rotary has an International reputation for supporting world causes like supporting the eradication of Polio and supporting Hospital Mercy Ships, to name just two.
Early on in this support for the vulnerable it was at the suggestion of the Police that Rotary high viz jackets were worn! Until we had more volunteers than clothing!
We were able to prevent scammers to the local householders as the Rotary Club paid for shopping and then reimbursed the volunteers. Other towns in Bucks were reporting problems with scammers and we thankfully avoided this in Chesham.
The Rotary Club of Chesham worked in conjunction with a number of other local organisations that we support and work with e.g. Citizens’ Advice, Foodbank etc. Rotary, as the world’s largest service organisation, created and managed a delivery schedule for the Food Bank from scratch, deploying 80 delivery slots. Latest figures show that the volunteers have done more than £15,000 worth of shopping for members of the Chesham community – and paid for by the householders.
The volunteers also made wellbeing calls, delivered pharmacy prescriptions, delivered foodbank boxes and staffed a phone line from 07.30 - 22.00 seven days a week.
Thank you to the individuals who have answered over 1200 calls for help. Thank you to the volunteer shoppers who to date have completed almost 400 individual shopping trips.
Not only has the Chesham Rotary provided the communications infrastructure for the volunteer group and also for four other groups, where social inclusion was a risk, but we have been supporting the Big Friday Community Takeaway with banking. As they now operate every day it has been re-titled The Big Community Takeaway.
From the start of the crisis until the end of the Rotary year (1st July 2020) our Club has supported many local groups giving assistance to help them use Zoom to avoid loneliness etc. We have supported 223 meetings on Zoom during this period attended by 1,748 people. In total the number of meeting minutes was 90,131.
Chesham Rotary has been around for 75 years. We are an organisation of practical action and we are proud of the Chesham community rising to the current challenge.
We hope you might join us and join in. Rotarians get together socially on a regular basis, although currently online, we have a great local network. Our annual Frog Racing event should not be missed!
We will be taking a regular feature in YourChesham to keep you informed of future activities.
Our sincere thanks go to everyone who has helped in these trying and unprecedented times.
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