Wellesbourne and Walton Community Care (WW-CC) was set up at the very beginning of the Covid outbreak. It was initially a partnership between St Peter’s Church and Hastings House Medical Centre with the Parish Council soon becoming involved. At a multidisciplinary meeting there were a range of volunteers who had particular skills to set this up as a sustainable operational scheme. One person heading up pharmacy collections with a suitable protocol worked out with then pharmacist. Another developed an electronic volunteer referral scheme and referral for shopping deliveries. Two wrote protocols for how it would all work operationally and the advertised the scheme. Within one week of this meeting WW-CC was launched. Folk who needed assistance with prescription, newspaper and shopping collection could telephone requests on a designated telephone or email them. At the height of the lockdown WW-CC was taking 60 referrals a day. The pharmacy collection extended beyond Wellesbourne and involved collectors from surrounding villages using the same protocols.
After the first year (2021), it became apparent that there were some villagers who felt very lonely and isolated often too afraid to go out. As a result, a befriending service was set up where all volunteers were DBS checked. The befriender would telephone once a week or write a letter to the befriended. This reduced the frequent callers to the surgery and to the WW-CC help line.
During this time is was decided to incorporate the work of OSCARS (over sixties community and recreation scheme) into WW-CC. OSCARS was initially an organisation set up by Hastings House but again involved a multidisciplinary team which provided benches around the village to be able to go for a walk, rest and continue. There was also a memory café, carer for carters scheme, three afternoon teas a year and lunch clubs. However over time the café came under the WRAP organisation and the lunch clubs were taken over by VASA but all these activities ceased for nearly two years. Hence the review of OSCARS.
Two years later (2022) as systems were opening up again it was decided to close all the collections as there wasn’t no longer any demand for them. Instead WW-CC branched in other directions. This included WW-CC organising two holiday at home schemes. 25 ‘holiday makers’ imagined they were going to the seaside – no need to pack a bag or sleep in a strange bed! Instead holidaymakers were transported to the Bowls Club for the day – 10am-3pm where they were fed, watered and entertained all with a seaside theme. This provided (potentially) 50 lonely and isolated older people with three days ‘away’. As the Back n’ forth transport had been ordered for the day there was an opportunity to offer some coffee outings from each of the sheltered housing schemes. It was all very successful so much so there will be an annual holiday at home scheme.
The first of the ‘OSCARS’ teas was held in December 2022 in Lawrence Mackie House and run on the same lines as before with a seasonal tea, entertainment, raffle and something to take home.
At the end of 2022 the befriending scheme was closed. Many befrienders had become personal friends with the befriended whilst others had withdrawn as they were no longer required. In future, referrals will be made to the Age UK’s befriending scheme.
Due to the financial crisis, many find themselves in and the rising cost of food and heating, WW-CC set up warm hubs some through activities already in place others were new such as the one in the Sports and Community Centre. St Peter’s Church also set up one in the church rooms which also served soup and roll.
All these activities have been funded through grants and gifts of money. National Grid, Orbit Housing and Tesco One Stop Bridge Street have been key supporters. Of course none of these activities would have be possible but for a team of fantastic volunteers. Our thanks to them all.
The WW-CC steering group meets quarterly or more regular when required. The trustees are Councillor Anne Priors, Wendy Waters and Wendy Biddington. In the picture below are also Max Down and Paul Gibson representing the Lions Club, Stuart Evans and Hannah Thein.