Community lifeline to help those isolated during coronavirus lockdown in Bedfordshire town

Isolated residents in Flitwick to receive help

A community lifeline has been set up for isolated Flitwick residents during the coronavirus crisis.

Ampthill and Flitwick Good Neighbours, churches, town council staff, a mental health forum and Central Bedfordshire councillor Gareth Mackey are uniting to help local people.

They are coordinating the work of volunteers from the town to help anyone stranded indoors.

Flitwick (Google)

Independent councillor Mackey said: "As coronavirus bites ever more deeply into our communities, a group of local agencies in Flitwick is offering a lifeline.

"More and more of us are unable to do those things we have taken for granted, including shopping or picking up prescriptions.

"The number of those displaying symptoms continues to grow, and many who are elderly or with underlying health conditions are not able to leave the house."

The Flitwick community lifeline number is 07833 314903. But offers of help should be made via social media, using the Facebook page Flitwick Community Lifeline.

Vicar of Flitwick Church, the Rev Lucy Davis, said: “There is a huge amount of goodwill in the town, with so many people helping out their neighbours or keeping in touch with friends.

"I kept getting phone calls from people offering to help. It was just a question of getting that redirected to where it is needed so urgently.”

The lifeline will be coordinated under the umbrella of the good neighbours scheme, working across Flitwick, Ampthill and the surrounding areas.

Councillor Mackey added: “In these difficult times, it is vital that we work together to assist those in need in our community.

"Across the town, I see multiple acts of generosity and kindness.

"But it is also important that the help available is safe and sustainable, as we potentially face many weeks of restrictions.

"We want to support those who are vulnerable behind closed doors and help to protect the NHS by ensuring those most at risk do not have to make unnecessary journeys.

"That is the purpose of the Flitwick community lifeline.”

Each volunteer will have a current DBS check and work within safe protocols for hygiene and money handling, according to councillor Mackey.

"Every visit will be recorded, so that help is robust and safeguarded."

The lifeline also has volunteers who are happy to ring for a chat.

Richard Luscombe, co-founder of The Forum - Busy Getting Stronger, said: “Social isolation causes anxiety for all of us.

"For those with more vulnerable mental health, it is a particularly difficult time.

"Just a conversation on the phone, an opportunity to be listened to, can help hugely.”

The forum can signpost residents to other agencies offering professional health support, including young people for whom this period is proving very challenging.

SOURCE: Email from councillor supporting local community during coronavirus crisis.