Life-long friendships flourish as Covid-19 support groups are set up amid pandemic

John and Alan became friends thanks to the Little Downham and Pymoor Covid-19 support scheme. Picture: Cambridgeshire County Council

John and Alan became friends thanks to the Little Downham and Pymoor Covid-19 support scheme. Picture: Cambridgeshire County Council

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Newly-formed Covid-19 support groups have become a lifeline for some during the global pandemic – it has also helped build life-long friendships.

John and Alan became friends thanks to the Little Downham and Pymoor Covid-19 support scheme. Picture: Cambridgeshire County Council John and Alan became friends thanks to the Little Downham and Pymoor Covid-19 support scheme. Picture: Cambridgeshire County Council

Dozens of schemes popped up across the region at the start of the coronavirus outbreak, with volunteers rallying around to help others in the community.

Two east Cambs residents - John and Alan - have spoken about how they met through the Covid-19 support scheme in Little Downham and Pymoor.

The scheme has been set up and run by Cllr Anna Bailey, Cambridgeshire County Council’s member for Ely and leader for the Downham Villages of East Cambridgeshire District Council.

John has been shielding, so Alan helped him by carrying out shopping trips and collecting some medication for him.

Their friendship grew and they had a socially distanced fish and chip night.

Alan said: “I immediately volunteered to join the scheme as soon as I became aware of it. I was delighted to find I had been paired with John as we rapidly established a connection.

“We agreed at the outset that I would not wish to become intrusive in anyway and that John would only request support when it became necessary.

“We did however contact each other frequently in the early days via email and telephone just to check all was okay.”

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In return, John was able to help Alan with setting up his new computer and was delighted to be able to give something back.

Alan bought a new computer and after unboxing it and cleaning it with antibacterial wipes, he dropped it off at John’s door and stood back so John could collect it.

Less than two days later, John called Alan to say he had installed the new software and it was ready to go.

Alan added: “John and I have become firm friends through being brought together in the unfortunate circumstances of the current crisis.

“I’m sure we will continue as such. It just shows that an ill wind can bring some good.”

Cllr Anna Bailey said: “It is fantastic to see the support group has brought people together and created some brilliant friendships.

“While it’s been such an unusual and difficult time for so many of us, our local communities have really come together to support one another.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers for their amazing work in supporting their local communities since the coronavirus pandemic.

“There has been an uplift in community spirit throughout Cambridgeshire and this is just one example of neighbours pulling together to help those most vulnerable in their communities.

“Although shielded people are now able to get out more as restrictions are being lifted, I hope that the community spirit, support and new friendships among local residents continues.”


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