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Community Heroes from the Covid Pandemic have been Recognised for their Outstanding Contribution

COMMUNITY heroes from the Covid pandemic have been recognised for their outstanding contribution, dedication and commitment to the Tenterden community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tenterden Mayor, Cllr Dr Lisa Lovelidge, hosted a special thank you ceremony in the Town Hall on Saturday, attended by around 50 people, including Town Council councillors.

A total of 19 organisations/businesses and individuals were nominated by people in Tenterden and awarded Certificates of Recognition for their amazing work and contribution.

Among them was the Helping in Tenterden group that was set up within a few days of Lockdown, and assembled 250 volunteers at the frontline, manning a help desk and delivering prescriptions and shopping.

The Homewood science teacher Chloe Newman was another recipient. She has also received the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Honours List for her role in setting up and running PPE Team Tenterden.

Senior Nurse Samantha Cooper and her partner Kevin Sheaff - a chef – cooked and delivered around 1,000 meals to people in need.

Emma and Roy Isworth worked tirelessly in the Food Bank to ensure that families and the vulnerable received food packages.

Cllr Lovelidge said: "I feel very privileged to be able to say thank you on behalf of the Tenterden Town Council to those who did so much for our community.

"There was a rapid change in our daily lives, everyone was affected, and yet people came together as one community.

"So many people did so much, whether it was delivering food and parcels, taking prescriptions to people, or checking on neighbours. I know that I have missed some people off my list, but I want to say a heartfelt thanks to each and every one."

Recipients of the Certificate of Recognition were:

  • Tenterden Social Hub - All employees and volunteers seamlessly changed their working practices to deal with lockdown to continue to care for their vulnerable members. As home visits and deliveries were greatly increased for 9 months, all done at the risk of their own lives. The staff and volunteers continued to provide valuable support to vulnerable people in the community, enabling them to stay living independently in their own homes.
  • St Mildred's Church Community - have performed an amazingly proactive service to the congregations and the wider community. Right from the onset of the pandemic, they were concerned about maintaining vital communications between people, understanding that the elderly, vulnerable and isolated members of the community would need constant support.
  • St Michael's Post Office - They ensured that the residents, particularly the elderly, had access to food and goods during the pandemic, including delivering food to the elderly and isolating individuals and families.
  • Paydens Tenterden - The team at Paydens stepped up to help during the pandemic, going above and beyond their usual high standards. Prescription fulfilment/deliveries, helpful advice and service, staying open and keeping in touch. They are a credit to Tenterden.
  • Helping in Tenterden - This group got up and running within a few days of lockdown, and involved a number of groups and people who came together, including Tenterden Town Council, Tenterden Social Hub, Tenterden Community Hub, the Food Bank, Ivy Court Surgery, St Mildred’s Church and MyTenterden. Volunteers spent hours and hours manning the help desk, sorting out volunteers, dealing with the answering machine, collecting prescriptions etc. The groups organised 1,000 missions, and the 20 strong help desk team organised the 250 volunteers who were willing to put themselves in the frontline to support their community They were incredibly organised, and everyone had ID cards given to them.
  • Ivy Court Surgery – The entire Ivy Court surgery staff and dispensary worked so hard getting medicine where it needed to go. As the new surgery was being built throughout the pandemic, they worked in protacabins, in the Pavilion and in football changing rooms. They coped with lightning strikes on East Cross, regular power outages, heatwaves, hotdesking and the PPE crisis. They put in place an amazing Covid vaccination programme that gave us hope that there was an end in sight to the never-ending lockdowns. They will be soon offering booster jabs after overcoming the transport challenges associated with the jab
  • Chloe Newman - Arranged for hundreds of pieces of PPE kit to be made and delivered them.  sprang into action when Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) became scarce during the first lockdown last year.  Chloe began a group called ‘PPE Team Tenterden’, which quickly became a hub for the large group of volunteers in her home town.  She initially started making scrubs bags from pillowcases, putting out an appeal for pillow cases and other bed linen, before amassing the Team to produce items of PPE, including masks, headbands, earsavers, scrubs caps and full sets of scrubs.  She also altered patterns for children’s masks that would make them more comfortable to wear, and wrote up how-to guides for new sewers.  Not only did Ms Newman organise the purchasing of additional material for members, she also ran fundraising events for extra supplies and sorted out the nationwide delivery of the produced PPE.  To date, the group has made more than 23,000 items, which have been dispatched all over the country to many NHS and private hospitals, including to NHS Nightingale Hospitals, as well as GP surgeries and care homes.
  • Samantha Cooper & Kevin Sheaff - Sam and Kev both worked full time during the pandemic. Sam as a senior practice nurse and Kev as a chef. Despite this, they spent all their off-duty time cooking and packing children’s meals, which were delivered to families with children who were either isolating, in poverty from losing their job. Between the two, they produced over 1000 meals at the height of the lockdown.
  • Emma Merryfield - Emma did so much as a Helping in Tenterden volunteer. She did most of the shopping for the residents of Forson Close, printed off information for them, and a lot of assignments on the list.
  • Ann Bryant - Ann did a huge amount as a volunteer in the Helping in Tenterden group, but also branched out on her own, starting with posting notes to houses, including the elderly at The Cobs, offering to do shopping.
  • Janet Bridger - Janet heads the Tenterden Memory Café, which helps those living with dementia and their carers and families. During lockdown, she led telephone and doorstop support, delivery of flowers and chocolates, circulated news bulletins, and kept in touch with those who go to the café. The café opened outside when they were able to. She also led counselling and practical support for families whose loved one had died or were taken into care during lockdown.
  • Spencer Goddard - Outstanding leadership of Tenterden Social Hub. He was instrumental in the creation of EC30, and facilitated the function of Helping in Tenterden, the food bank, and old school larder.
  • Canon Lindsay Hammond & Reverend Jeanette Kennett - From the beginning of lockdown, Lindsay and Jeanette recognised a need to keep people in touch with the church and created a daily newsletter, called ‘Viral Times’, which later became Connect Up! It continues today and is a valued means of communication.  They supported the people of Tenterden in many ways, many of them performed quietly in the background, without any fuss. They set up a daily email and Facebook link to maintain communications with their congregations. Their humour and vitality was infectious. They encouraged people to join in, to send comments, pictures, cartoons, and stores. It became a daily ritual in households to ‘see what they had put into today’s edition’.  They also worked hard with Tenterden Social Hub and other groups to develop the Foodbank and the old schoolhouse larder.  All of this was far in excess of their normal clerical duties, and they persevered in very adverse circumstances.
  • Emma Isworth - Emma worked tirelessly before, throughout, and after each lockdown ensuring families and individuals who are vulnerable and on the breadline received food packages, including freshly made meals.  Emma continues her good work and is now based at EC30.
  • Roy Isworth - Roy assisted Emma in the above, particularly sorting and delivering food boxes. 
  • Lyndsey Webber - Managed the medical services in Tenterden during the pandemic in challenging circumstances, especially moving the services to the portacabins while the new surgery was built. She orchestrated the vaccine programme, much of which was out of hours, and was instrumental in the creation of EC30.
  • Keeley Harris - She did a large amount of pick ups/drops/shopping, etc. from the list of assignments on the Helping in Tenterden list.

The Mayor of Ashford, Councillor Callum Knowles, also presented two Certificates of Achievement from the Borough Council.

They went to Roy and Emma Isworth and to Councillor Sue Ferguson.

He said: "Roy and Emma are the most unassuming people that you can meet. They go the extra mile for everybody, and have raised money for charity and are pivotal in the running of the Food Bank.  Sue was recognised for her exceptional support to the Tenterden community, including business and charities, over many years"