Berkhamsted Town Council
Community Support Initiatives in Berkhamsted
15 April 2020 update
At the time of writing it is just overthree weeks since we were put into lockdown and told:
"Stay at home
- Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (but only if you cannot work from home)
- If you go out, stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times
- Wash your hands as soon as you get home
Do not meet others, even friends or family; you can spread the virus even if you don't have symptoms."
People in Berkhamsted have been observing these rules, however, the Town Council has been overwhelmed by the creativity, inventiveness and care for the plight of others demonstrated by local groups and organisations. Support offered to groups by the Town Council is set out in section 6 below. In the meantime, here is a snap shot of what is going on in the Town together with useful contact details in case you need to get in touch with any of the services:
- 1. Community Action Dacorum
Amongst their many services CAD's community transport scheme is to:
Provide essential transport for non-routine healthcare appointments
Provide a shopping service for isolated individuals
Provide a prescription collection and delivery service.
To make a booking contact the Community Transport team on 01442 212888.
If you would like to volunteer e-mail email@example.com;
- 2. Age UK Dacorum
Age UK Dacorum have forged an essential link with the Berkhamsted Covid 19 Mutual Aid Facebook group and Open Door (see below for more details) , here is an example of what has happened as a result:
An appeal was made by Age UK Dacorum through Berkhamsted Covid 19 Mutual Aid Facebook group for befriending phone volunteers. The response was immediate and a number of community minded people stepped forward, and within days approximately 50 vulnerable isolated people [of all ages] experienced an enriching befriending phone call, resulting in help with some urgent issues like shopping and prescription collection. These phone calls and ongoing support will continue on a regular basis which is equally as important.
A grand daughter who initially made contact with the Berkhamsted Covid 19 Mutual Aid Facebook group has subsequently told Age UK Dacorum " I have a weight lifted off myshoulders … thoughts of my Gran with her favourite coffee and some lemon cake bring me great happiness" Moreover the granddaughter went on to say " you guys are doing a greatjob and it's amazing that all the way from Dorset I was able to help my gran by contacting you. This page seems so helpful to many. Keep up the good work "
Telephone:Tel: 01442 259049
If you would like to volunteer e-mail DO@ageukdacorum.org.uk;
- 3. Open Door
Open Door was set up in 2017 by The Way Inn Christian Centre Trust, a registered charity. The founders had identified demand from various community groups and individuals for a lower cost venue, or community space, within Berkhamsted. Their vision was to extend the outreach of Way Inn, to provide a place of welcome and security for local people and somewhere to meet, make friends and have fun together.
Although the premises in the High Street have had to close for the time being, the work continues.If you need help with shopping, picking up prescriptions etc - or if you can offer to help - please email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07778 399353.
Volunteers are busy behind the scenes preparing some online activities for you to do at home. Visit the Facebook page to see what's coming up.
Open Door has joined forces with Berko Food for Friends to prepare and deliver free meals to those in need.. The service has just been set up and is in its early days with one chef and one kitchen – expansion of the service is being considered if facilities can be found and discussions are underway. If you're elderly, vulnerable or self-isolating – or know someone who is – volunteers can bring evening meals to your household between 5pm and 6pm. If you'd like to order food or would like more information, email email@example.com or call Joan Fisher on 07778 399353. You can also let Open Door know your order using this online form: https://bit.ly/BerkoMealDelivery
- 4. Berkhamsted Covid-19 Mutual Aid Facebook Group
Link to pagehttps://www.facebook.com/groups/140520593982262/
The purpose of the group is to provide a forum for people in Berkhamsted and Northchurch to support each other during the crisis. In less then four weeks the group has set up a network of volunteers in most streets and they provide valuable services such as social contact, collection of prescriptions and shopping, provision of hot meals in addition to bringing some fun and entertainment to people. They have also forged links with other agencies that people may need help from such as DENS and Mind.
- 5. South East Craft for Causes
The local Berkhamsted and Tring group originally came together last year to help make items to save animals in the Australian bushfires. They have over 1k members on their local Facebook group.
In the last few weeks the group has been asked directly by Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Watford General Hospital and Luton and Dunstable Hospital to sew scrubs and scrub bags. These are for staff who do not normally wear scrubs but are required to now due to Covid-19. Hospitals are overwhelmed and the factories that provide scrubs are in China. They are weeks behind in production and the global demand is very high.
The local group has now raised over £5,000 in a very short period and hopes to start its first production run next week (week commencing 20 April). This will also be a test run to check the production processes and if all goes well they hope to fulfil more orders.
- 6. Town Council Support for Groups
The Town Council has been in close contact with the above groups. It has set aside £20,000 to offer financial support during the emergency and in its aftermath. It is anticipated that this will cover a good number of applications. Some funds have already been distributed, for example, Age UK Dacorum has so far received £1,400 to support local Berkhamsted initiatives and South East Craft for causes are applying for funding for future stages of their project. We are also sourcing protective gloves and hand sanitiser for Open Door volunteers and others who are delivering goods to people.
We are sure there will also be other groups that are working hard for their community. Any group, organisation or charity supporting people in Berkhamsted during the crisis can apply for funding and can contact the Town Clerk (Janet Mason) by phone 01442 800152 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; There is a short form on which to make applications and this can be e-mailed out to you or is available on the Town Council website
We look forward to hearing from groups.
Berkhamsted Town Council Grant Application Form Covid 19 Community Support
Background information and available funds: Berkhamsted Town Council is committed to supporting initiatives in the Town that are there to support our community during the Covid19 pandemic. How this might be achieved was discussed at a virtual town council meeting held on 30 March 2020. At the meeting an initial budget of £1,400 was allocated immediately to Age UK Dacorum, who will be broadening their age criteria for the emergency. Age UK Dacorum are working through volunteer groups and organisations to provide low level needs for people affected by isolation. At the end of March work was still in its early days and the key organisations involved in discussions, in addition to Age UK Dacorum, were Open Door, the Berkhamsted Community Facebook Group, and Berkhamsted District Chamber of Commerce. A further £3,600 of funding was also agreed that the group can ask to draw upon going forward as the situation regarding demand and services crystallised.
In addition, and as a separate but linked initiative to the above, a £15,000 earmarked reserves fund has been created. Funding from this reserve could be made available to volunteering organisations, groups or charities serving the people of Berkhamsted to mitigate the impact of the current crisis (including its aftermath). £15,000 is the total amount available and would cover a number of separate applications. The Town Council agreed that such applications should be made to the Town Clerk and include details of the service(s) offered, safeguarding measures, other funding applied for, project plan and financial controls. On receipt of an application the Town Clerk would contact all members of the Finance &Policy Committee for consideration and authorisation of such applications.
Who can apply and how Any organisation, group or charity providing a service that will help the people of Berkhamsted through the current crisis and who wish to apply for some funds should make such applications to the Town Clerk (Janet Mason) by completing the attached application form and returning it via e-mail to: email@example.com;
Grant Application Form Covid19 Support (Word Document, 21 Kb)