‘Exceptional, challenging and unprecedented’ says our mayor as residents of Ely and East Cambridgeshire show remarkable community resilience

'In this time of crisis, we need ways to support each other'. The message friom Ely Cathedral where

'In this time of crisis, we need ways to support each other'. The message friom Ely Cathedral where a Facebook Group to connect people who want to help and people who need support.Picture; ELY CATHEDRAL - Credit: Archant

A measure of hope is being provided by the people of Ely, Soham, Littleport and the villages of East Cambridgeshire in their response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hundreds took to social media to volunteer to collect prescriptions or groceries or even to walk pets for those forced to self-isolate or recommended to sever contact because of their age or an underlying health issue.

“These are exceptional, challenging and unprecedented times for the community” said Ely mayor Michael Rouse. The resultant fall-out from the Government’s almost apocalyptic response to the pandemic is becoming evident hour by hour.

Local bars and restaurants are empty, cinemas and theatres closed, summer events such as Eel Day cancelled, hotels deserted, and even Ely Cathedral forced to abandon traditional worship.

The scale and magnitude of the crisis is not being under- estimated in any shape or form.

But on social media the heart and soul of our community is taking on a new dimension. Facebook group Spotted in Ely, for instance, has scores of links to localised support groups. Families and individuals facing their own personal challenges are still offering support and help to many others less fortunate.

“Please may I urge you to be good neighbours and keep an eye out for the most vulnerable members of our community,” urged the mayor.

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Richard Spencer, executive principal of Ely College, said that it was important that the Government “quickly develops contingency plans for free school meals and access to food for children in the event of school closures.

“We are already dealing with students with little access to food, and the food banks are running low on supplies.”

Typical of the many emails to the Ely Standard was this from Sallyanne Fraser-Sulman of Witcham.

“We are a little village that is not stock piling toilet paper, we are not running about like mad buying pasta and anything else we MAY need to self-isolate.

“We are running around gathering a list of willing volunteers to help those that need it in our village, we are running about making posters and delivering it to every household in our village. We are not scaremongering we just want to be ready to help those in need….”

She added: “Just thought I would share what a great place to live Witcham is”.