‘Helping in Tenterden’ (HIT), the community organisation helping alleviate the impact of Covid-19 in and around the town, is receiving a growing number of calls from residents needing food deliveries and financial support.
HIT is a joint venture involving Tenterden Town Council, Ivy Court Surgery, St Mildred’s Church, Tenterden Social Hub, Tenterden Community Hub and MyTenterden.
Town Clerk Phil Burgess says: ”Help is readily available, and we are hugely encouraged that people are continuing to call us to register as HIT volunteers.
“Right now, there needs to be a renewed – and urgent - focus on ensuring that those who need food supplies get them, and also that older people know they can rely on a volunteer to do their shopping or collect their prescription.”
Town councillors have voted a £1,000 emergency grant to HIT, with a further £2,000 available in the future, and a pledge that additional grants will be made if it proves necessary.
The number of calls for help has almost doubled in the past week – from 93 to 185 – while the number of people registering to act as volunteers has increased from 160 to 205.
New volunteers should telephone the Town Hall on 01580 762271, while those requiring help should phone the Helpline on 01580 761060.
Many calls are from residents seeking food deliveries and/or financial support, while increasing numbers are asking for volunteers to collect their prescriptions from the chemist or take their dogs for a walk.
Meanwhile, food donations are beginning to outstrip supply, and more food and money is desperately needed to keep people safely fed (See separate story).
HIT volunteer Cllr Sue Ferguson is producing photo identity cards for all volunteers registered by the Town Council as a reassurance for those seeking help, particularly single and older people.
Mr Burgess is advising residents to avoid unsubstantiated and misleading information about the Covid-19 virus from social media websites. A new official government information service has been launched on WhatsApp - to access this simply add 07860 064422 to your contacts list, and send a WhatsApp message saying ‘Hi’.
For the latest official information locally, visit tenterdentowncouncil.gov.uk and click on the Coronavirus image. For additional news on the HiT campaign, and for up-to-date information on how volunteers, shops and supermarkets are helping to combat the impact of the pandemic, visit www.helpingintenterden.co.uk