THE Lyme Regis Community Support group, set up to help residents through COVID-19, plans to continue its work as a charitable organisation even after the pandemic.
The group was set up in March 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK and an army of more than 90 volunteers quickly stepped forward to support their neighbours.
It then received a £3,000 grant from Dorset Community Foundation to help it get off the ground.
The volunteers have carried out a huge variety of tasks for some of the town’s most vulnerable residents, from grocery shopping, collecting prescriptions and arranging transport to hospital appointments, to walking dogs, clearing ponds, having socially-distanced chats with those suffering from loneliness and even arranging a telegram from the Queen for a 100th birthday. They also delivered free Christmas Day lunches to those in need.
The group, which now has 35 regular volunteers, has worked with local medical centres, pharmacies and social prescriber Jo Ellis.
Cllr Cheryl Reynolds – one of the driving forces behind Lyme Regis Community Support – reported on the work of the organisation at a recent meeting of the town council’s Tourism, Community & Publicity Committee.
She said they were now in the process of changing the voluntary group into a Charitable Incorporated Organisation with five trustees, so it could continue to support and offer services to Lyme Regis residents even when the current pandemic is over.
Cllr Reynolds said: “We have been so grateful to Lyme Regis Town Council staff for all our admin assistance and especially to Adrianne and Kerry for advising and keeping our spreadsheets up-to-date, and to Mark Russell and Naomi for looking after our grant money. We couldn’t have done it without them.
“We worked with Sue Davies from LymeForward/Foodbank, Chris Tipping of Lyme Regis Development Trust, Jo Ellis from Lyme Bay Medical Practice, and our mayor Brian Larcombe to produce a Christmas card for every resident with all of the organisations’ information on a sheet enclosed, and an offer of a Christmas lunch.
“It was amazing for our volunteers to work on Christmas Day, delivering the meals to grateful residents. Thanks here must go to Dominik Moldenhauer from Dom’s Table, Ali Finklwort and Tara Webb for producing such a wonderful Christmas meal.
“Our 20-foot Christmas tree donated to the Town Mill was for everyone to enjoy and especially the children who were invited to make a Christmas decoration and enter a competition with prizes to try and cheer them up at this time of year.
“Everything was socially distanced and the competition was kindly judged by Dorothy Wood and my granddaughter Lillie, as it was her tree grown from a six inch tree 20 years ago.
“Since Christmas we have been supplying soup kindly made by Ali McLoughlin, Lyn Martin, Harriett Mansell and Tara Webb every two weeks and being delivered by our volunteers to residents.
“None of this could have been done without everyone working together and I hope this report goes some way to keep you up-to-date with what we do and to thank all our brilliant volunteers and all the people that have helped us to achieve this very worthwhile service that we will be able to continue. Thank you everyone.”
If you require any help or support during the pandemic, call Cheryl Reynolds on 01297 443814 or visit the Lyme Regis Community Support Facebook page.