We did it Oxfordshire! Paying tribute to all our volunteers #teamoxfordshire

Residents across the county who stepped up to support their neighbours during the Covid-19 pandemic are being thanked for their efforts during 2020 as Winter approaches .

Oxfordshire County Council’s Director of Adult Social Care, Stephen Chandler, has paid tribute to Oxfordshire residents for their generous efforts in helping to support those who needed it the most throughout the county during lockdown.

More than 15,000 of people stepped up to offer support to those who needed it most across the county during lockdown in many ways, from delivering prescriptions and groceries to those shielding or in financial difficulty, to providing support online or on the phone.

Stephen Chandler said: “We should pay credit to our community resilience across Oxfordshire during these difficult times. As we head into the winter months, which we know will bring about more challenges, let's not lose this momentum. Let’s make ‘taking care of each other’ our new way of being beyond the pandemic.”

“Volunteers come many different backgrounds, from individuals helping neighbours or relatives, to more large-scale organised groups, but we would not have been able to do any of this without everyone pulling together as one. It is thanks to the generosity and resilience of all of us that we have been able to support residents in so many ways, from providing them with care and support, to ensuring that they receive medication and groceries, have dogs walked, or just a friendly chat when needed.”

Thanks to the collaborative efforts of everyone, including voluntary groups, public services, businesses, and charities, so many Oxfordshire residents seen a real difference during a particularly difficult time. Here are some of those stories.

Emily’s story

Emily* is one of those vulnerable people who was helped by the army of volunteers and organisations. Back in May had been shielding due to illness, and subsequently found herself in hardship with Covid-19 symptoms.

Emily contacted South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council’s Community Support Hub to request help with shopping and medicine, and to receive a friendly call in this difficult time. To assist her, the Hub worked in partnership with two local support groups, Farringdon Viral Kindness and The Place, and with the local food bank.

Council staff began delivering regular food parcels, while local groups arranged collections and deliveries of medicine, and provided Emily with a fridge-freezer and a bed. She has also been receiving weekly calls from volunteers, whom have sent her useful information and contacts to help her manage housing and finances.

Emily could not be more thankful to all the agencies that have been helping her and her family during the Covid-19 emergency, and was keen to relay her appreciation for everyone’s hard work;

Joseph’s Story

Joseph* was referred has been referred to South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Council’s Community Support Hub’s helpline by his son as he speaks very little English.

Joseph’s son was helping his dad with food shopping, but he could not help him any longer, leaving Joseph in urgent need of food. The Community Support Hub’s contact centre tried to get in contact with him to help but had been struggling as he was not confident speaking over the phone.

However, North Hinksey Parish Council were able to send over a volunteer to his home to check on him, and the volunteer could then speak over the phone with Joseph’s son and arrange for support.

As a result, staff working at the Hub delivered an urgent food parcel to Joseph, while North Hinksey Parish Council were able to support him with food deliveries in the long-term.

*Names have been changed