At the beginning of lockdown many organisations in Nantwich found themselves closed or unable to operate. RedShift Radio was one of those to suffer, plans and preparations for an April relaunch as a community podcast network had to be put on hold
To keep the RedShift team busy they decided to make good use of their strong community network, and swung into action by setting up a volunteer support group to help households that needed to isolate.
Initially, the first 40 volunteers came from their immediate network of family and friends and The Nantwich Buddies was formed. After a few days they began working with Cheshire East's People Helping People team who received calls from the general public asking for help mainly with shopping and prescription collection.
To date the Nantwich Buddies have supported over 160 households in Nantwich and Acton and at the peak had over 60 people volunteering each week.
For many, life is returning to a “new normal”, but the Buddies are still supporting around 60 households. They are finding that new volunteer roles are being requested of them and volunteer coordinators Liz Parkin & Kedren Elliott are currently preparing rota’s to help at Church View Pharmacy with temperate checks.
Another activity now underway is the Street Ambassador Scheme to help visitors navigate their way around Nantwich. Sporting pink high-vis vests, kindly sponsored by Nantwich Food Festival, you’ll see the Street Ambassadors in town every Saturday and, as the team grows, hopefully weekdays also.
John Coulter, director of the Nantwich Food Festival said: “We’ve been so disappointed that we've had to cancel the Food Festival this year. Our event is a great showcase for local food producers, something I’m very passionate about and it brings a lot of visitors to our town.
When I heard about Nantwich Buddies I wanted to get involved and help the community in a different way and knew they were looking for sponsors. There is so much going on in our little town to support residents and the work that Nantwich Buddies has been doing is fantastic. Myself and the other festival director are proud to be able to help.”
Liz Parkin founder of RedShift and the Buddies scheme commented “We’ve all been impacted by the pandemic and many people are feeling stressed, anxious and very isolated. I am delighted with how the Buddies, from all walks of life, have stepped up and supported their community.
“We are here for our town, for anyone in our community that needs us. We can help with shopping, dog walking, basic gardening jobs, befriending, prescription collection, whatever people or organisations need help within Nantwich - just ask!”
Plans are underway to launch a Virtual Volunteer Conference in late-September. This will be a series of online pre-recorded and live zoom workshops for anyone in Nantwich to take part in. Already confirmed we have workshops such as Becoming a Dementia Friend, Mental Health First Aid, Basic Sign Language and Listening Skills.
You can sign up and find out more about Nantwich Buddies and the Virtual Volunteer Conference on the RedShift website at: www.redshiftonline.org/nantwich-buddies find us on facebook, or call 01270 440 750 and leave a message for the Buddies coordinators to get back to you.