LOCAL COVID19 INITIATIVE PROVES INVALUABLE TO MANY DOVER RESIDENTS


 

At the start of the Covid19 emergency, a wide group of Dover organisations joined together to form Together4Dover under the umbrella of Dover Big Local. Launched on April 3rd 2020, the helpline service has been offering support to local residents throughout the pandemic but the service will be suspended on August 1st when shielding for most people will cease.

 

Particular care has been taken to ensure that Together4Dover’s ‘regular callers’ can be supported 

beyond July 31st by signposting to another service where possible. This has meant that each person should have received either a call from the NHS Social Prescriber, or a doorstep visit from the local Community Warden as duty of care is of paramount importance to Together4Dover.

 

Over 80 local Dover people offered to volunteer which included manning the helpline phones, running shopping and prescription errands, as well as delivering hot meals and fresh food deliveries for referrals received for local families in need. There has also been a laundry service offered, together with counselling services provided by Harmony Trust Therapies. Our services have been greatly enhanced by a grant we received from Dover District Council.

 

Deacon Michelle Legumi, chair of Together4Dover Covid 19 Support, said “We’ve been overwhelmed by the amazing support our volunteers have given. There have been many examples of them going above and beyond in completing the errands as they all care deeply about our community.

 

“The numbers speak for themselves: we have completed around 600 errands, taken over 1,100 phone calls and delivered nearly 800 hot meals and over 800 food deliveries. Absolutely staggering in view of the very short lead times involved to set up the operation. A huge thank you to all those who have volunteered over the past few months.”

 

Feedback from residents has been wonderful including:

 

From the beginning, Together4Dover have worked closely with Dover District Council’s Community Development team, Kent County Council Community Wardens and the local NHS Social Prescriber which has proved invaluable in having ‘joined up thinking’ across the different groups.

 

Support has also been magnificent from local companies with Dover Marina Spa hotel cooking the hot meals, Buckland Media supplying all the printing, Drop N Go offering laundry services and local leisure company, Saga Group, providing driver volunteers plus staff to help with website production. Surplus food has also been donated by local supermarkets including Aldi, Morrisons, Tesco and Marks & Spencer. Tesco donated 1,500 carrier bags, Aldi donated hand sanitizer for volunteers and The Beacon Church hosted the Emergency Food Deliveries. The phone system was kindly donated by the Dial9 group. A HUGE thank you to all these organisations.

 

Whilst the future activity of Together4Dover has not yet been finalised, it has been acknowledged that the initiative was a resounding success with firm foundations laid should it prove necessary to reinstate the service in the future (subject to volunteer recruitment levels).