COVID-19 may have forced the majority of us to remain in our homes, but the Argyle Community Trust continues to find ways to support the people of the region in their time of need.
In the immediate aftermath of the coronavirus lockdown, staff at the Trust immediately set about trying to make an impact in the local community.
Trust vehicles were put to use as delivery wagons to transport supplies from the Manadon Sports and Community Hub – where much of the Argyle Community Trust’s outreach work is based - to local people. Food, refreshments and essential items have since been donated to the Shekinah Mission, as well as the Four Greens Community Trust, based in Whitleigh.
“Shekinah and Four Greens got in touch first and put out a call for help,” said Dan Hart, the Trust’s Social Inclusion Manager. “So, we started to move our existing stock at Manadon.
“We have worked with both Shekinah and Four Greens before, and we feel it is important to show our support to others in these challenging times.”
The Trust has also identified over 100 individuals who are likely to feel the impact of social distancing more than most, and has set about providing support, both pastoral and practical, to these people – through food deliveries and regular telephone and email catch-ups with members of Trust staff.
“We have been provided some guidance from the EFL in terms of introducing conversations with disability participants and over-55s,” said Dan. “We are really just checking in on them, making sure they are alright for food and medicines. If we can’t help them ourselves, then we are referring them to different partners who can.
“It’s gone well, we have had good feedback. We have a long list of people to get in touch with, and we are also working with St Luke’s Hospice, offering similar support in the PL5 area. It is challenging to get hold of everyone, but it’s important work.”
iPads have also been loaned to those without the necessary tools to stay connected in these challenging times, and remote coaching sessions have been delivered to ensure that some of the Trust’s provision, wherever possible, can continue.
It is not just devices and supplies that the Trust has been offering to the community, though. A number of staff have found themselves going back to school since social distancing measures were introduced, with Trust employees heading into schools to provide support as key workers, PE teachers, and teaching assistants.
The Trust continues to offer a range of digital resources and virtual classes wherever possible, as well as hosting social events - like eSports competitions on gaming consoles - providing young participants a safe environment to compete and socialise online.
“It’s important to us to maintain contact so that, when we go back to some form of normality, that everyone is healthy and able to participate to their full potential.
“We want people to know that we are there for them, whether they are at our sessions or not.”
If you know of anyone in need of a helping hand during this period, please contact the Argyle Community Trust on firstname.lastname@example.org.