On 18th March, my flights for a spring break road trip around rural Halkidiki, Greece were cancelled. I decided to still take my annual leave from work as the country was in crisis and lockdown followed soon after Monday 23rd March, the day I was due to fly to Greece. I was already committing to a weekly food shop for my 95 year old housebound Auntie living on the Wirral. That week, I scaled up my food shopping to cover another Auntie in Chester, my parents in Chester and their elderly neighbour. I was really enjoying helping others, so when I noticed an advert from Cheshire Voluntary Action, Cheshire West and Chester Council and the Chester Mutual Aid, I literally jumped at the opportunity, the same with the NHS GoodSAM scheme. I've now completed 97 food shopping deliveries for family, friends, neighbours and the local community, 21 prescription deliveries and made 32 Check In and Chat phone calls to those shielding at home since 19th March. I'm featured in a brief post on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/MandSnews/status/1255101741823074304?s=09
However, the best and proudest moment, I'm literally one of 100's of volunteers in the community of Chester giving their free time to help others in the community. I've made new friends for life and I can hand on heart say that volunteering in the community was the best decision of 2020.
I'll remember this year, this global pandemic crisis and national emergency not just for the number of lives so sadly lost which has been absolutely devastating, but also for the number of lives we managed to save, by keeping so many people in our communities safe at home. "Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives." A big tick for this one.
I've spent over £3,500 on food and essentials for family, friends, neighbours and the community since 19th March, receiving payment for each food shop based on the receipt, it's worked exceptionally well. I'm sat here absolutely amazed at what I've been able to achieve. At my peak, I managed 6 food shop deliveries in 1 day. This required so much planning and organisation, all my management skills utilised to the max, but I did it.
I would really like to thank everyone involved with the Chester Mutual Aid for all their support, what an amazing team of experts in their field, community leaders and ambassadors, professionals and community volunteers. A truly amazing effort from everyone involved, whether leafletting their local area, making phone calls, supporting community food hubs, collecting and delivering prescriptions, food shopping deliveries or dog walking, an absolutely outstanding community response to an unprecedented global pandemic crisis and national emergency.