It’s been a busy few weeks since we launched ‘Dig The Valley’ in April, as I write this we are currently in week 12 of a slightly eased version of lockdown. Slowly, businesses are starting to re-open and just last week we saw ‘Salt and Malt – take away,’ at Chew Valley lake open their doors, just a few days a week.
During our launch month we asked you to nominate a ‘good seed,’ each month. We had a great response but for ‘May & June there were two clear winners for us; Patricia Murphy and the many volunteers who joined her to make PPE for local care homes and ‘Chew Valley Rugby Club,’ for supporting our most vulnerable residents and those who were/are self-isolating with deliveries prescription collections as needed. Thank you so much for all you have done to support our community.
Mask Force & More – Patricia Murphy – Good Seed
Patricia is a retired registered nurse and experienced seamstress; her husband is a retired businessman and a practicing Rotarian with Wrington Vale Rotary Club. They have lived in the village of Blagdon for the past 34 years. I asked Patricia How what prompted her to get involved with this project and how it all started….
In mid-April Patricia and her husband volunteered to help another Rotarian couple with a project to supply scrub caps/bags to Bristol/Weston NHS hospitals. At about the same time, their neighbour’s elderly parents were admitted to Winscombe Hall Care Home and Patricia and her fellow volunteers offered to help supply the care home with the same items. The care home was delighted with the offer and accepted readily. All the volunteers were shocked that care homes seemed to be completely forgotten in the rush to assist hospitals.
Patricia put out an appeal on Chew Valley/Wrington Vale social media websites and was flooded with offers of help, both from local individuals and small groups but also from the ‘Bath Scrub Hub,’ – a collection of upwards of 500 ladies from across Somerset and Wiltshire. Patricia worked with Julia George of Midsomer Norton to get the PPE to where it was needed most. These individuals and small/large groups supplied and continue to supply Patricia with scrub caps and laundry bags almost daily. Shortly afterwards a teacher from Dundry, Natasha Parsnip, and Colin Maddocks from Bristol University also offered Paricia visors produced by their students for use in care homes which again were snapped up by many eager care home staff.
Patricia had villagers from Blagdon, Wrington, Chew Magna, Compton Martin, West Harptree, Ubley supplying her regularly with beautifully made caps and bags together with the bulk supplies of these items from the Bath Scrub Hubcourtesy of Julia. A small energetic team of Wrington Vale Rotarians made calls to care homes throughout our region and members of the team then coordinated and organised collection and delivery of all the items.
So far they have supplied no fewer than 63 care homes plus Weston Hospice with over 3600 scrub caps, laundry bags, and visors, and the team is currently in the process of completing their first 90 complete scrub sets.
The area covered includes; Weston Super Mare, Clevedon, Portishead, Burnham, Brent Knoll, Cheddar, Wells, South Bristol, Long Ashton, Winscombe, and Sandford.
The team feel they have now, largely satisfied the demand for caps and bags so they have turned their attention to producing scrub sets (scrub tunics top and bottom) for care workers to wear under their disposable PPE.
Many thanks to Patricia, the Rotary Club, sewers, and dedicated volunteers who have made this happen. Everyone has gone the extra mile to support the care home sector through this current crisis and it has been heartening to see so many wonderful people come forward to help. Well done everyone and thank you for all your efforts.
Good Seeds – Chew Valley RFC – Delivery & Prescription Collection Service
The Chew Valley RFC Delivery and prescription collection service was certainly a positive idea born out of a negative situation which is why we wanted to nominate Rebecca Hodson and her Rugby club teammates as one of our ‘good seeds’ for April & May.
Rebecca explains how it all started… Sadly Rebecca was made redundant as a result of the Covid 19 lockdown, when reaching out to her teammates it became apparent that many of them were in a similar position to her or furloughed. Not known for standing still, the team wanted to do something positive to help their community. Rebecca employed her skills and set up a group for everyone to communicate within and utilised the rugby club pages to help spread the word.
The net result was just under 40 volunteers, all happy to help out. Many thanks to everyone who stepped forward including; Claire Hatherell, Amie Evans and Eloise Brown who have been busy looking after residents in Winford and Clutton. No village was missed out as the team was able to allocate each village in the Valley with volunteers.
Many thanks also to Michelle Ogborne who pulled together the Chew Valley List of suppliers and local businesses that have changed their services during the lockdown, and managed the volunteer spreadsheet. This list has really helped the local care groups and existing support networks to support their villages and neighbours at this difficult time.