Time bank volunteers dedicate hundreds of hours to help villagers in need during lockdown

PUBLISHED: 14:55 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 14:55 04 June 2020

Lucy Amos-John (left) co-ordinates the Sutton Time Bank, which has been helping villagers during the coronavirus lockdown. Pictures: SUPPLIED

Lucy Amos-John (left) co-ordinates the Sutton Time Bank, which has been helping villagers during the coronavirus lockdown. Pictures: SUPPLIED

Archant

A group of volunteers have dedicated hundreds of hours to help villagers with their everyday needs as they live through the coronavirus pandemic.

Lucy Amos-John (left) co-ordinates the Sutton Time Bank, which has been helping villagers during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: SUPPLIEDLucy Amos-John (left) co-ordinates the Sutton Time Bank, which has been helping villagers during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: SUPPLIED

Since the first request came in on March 23, over 600 hours have been volunteered by members of the Sutton Time Bank, launched by the parish council to provide a COVID-19 support network.

From delivering shopping and newspapers to collecting prescriptions, over 40 volunteers have played their part to help those in need, and at a time where supporting your local community may not have been greater.

Rosie Hughes, clerk of Sutton Parish Council, said: “Cambridgeshire has a network of time banks and Sutton Parish council decided one would work in Sutton. The time bank was in the planning stages when COVID-19 hit.

“The parish council has been awarded two grants to assist with the COVID-19 support; one from the Cambridgeshire Communities Foundation and the other from Sutton Poors Land Charity.”

Several people from outside the village have also got in touch with the time bank, on top of around 65 households in Sutton already using the service.

Lucy Amos-John, co-ordinator of the Sutton Time Bank, is one of those offering her support to residents, but admits there have been some challenges along the way.

She said: “The first couple of weeks were busy in ensuring our details were available for those that needed assistance and signing up volunteers to the time bank.

“A lot of the residents that were shielding are not users of social media, so it was a challenge to ensure they knew about us.

Lucy Amos-John (left) co-ordinates the Sutton Time Bank, which has been helping villagers during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: SUPPLIEDLucy Amos-John (left) co-ordinates the Sutton Time Bank, which has been helping villagers during the coronavirus lockdown. Picture: SUPPLIED

“We have had requests from 65 households within Sutton.

“A number of these have been requests from families that live outside of the village who needed help for their relatives in the village, so we are currently developing a phone buddy system to help reduce social isolation.”

Leaflets have now been distributed across the area letting people know about the service, and by doing so, the time bank aims to keep bringing the community together with a helping hand.

Ms Amos-John said: “I love being able to help people, especially in such a time of uncertainty.

“I have got to know so many people in the village that I might not have normally crossed paths with and some lifelong friendships have been formed.”

Ms Hughes added: “We are working towards supporting individuals with the help they need to stay independent and well, and to develop effective collaboration and partnership working with our residents, village groups and other tiers of local authorities.

“I hope the time bank continues to bring the community together in supporting our village.”

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