When it became apparent that COVID was going to force the country into lockdown, a chance comment on the Love Goostrey Facebook page created a team of amazing local volunteers who have now done over 300 acts of service for the people around the village. The work of the Love Goostrey volunteers has recently been acknowledged by the Parish Council, who have entered the work done by the group into the Parish record.
“Goostrey has a lot of of older residents and it was very clear from the start of lockdown that there was a real need for some kind of system to support those people who might be shielding,” explains Andrew Shanahan, the editor of Love Goostrey. “We put out a request to see if we could get someone from each area of the village to volunteer to be a point of contact for those people. In the end we were overwhelmed with volunteers and we had someone from every single road in the village – in some cases there were several for each road – it was a real testament to the village spirit.”
The Love Goostrey volunteers have spent time during the past four months helping other members of the village. They have done everything from walking dogs, picking up shopping and prescriptions, or just being a friendly ear available for a chat.
Love Goostrey Volunteer, Martine Nicholson explained, “I got involved in the volunteer group as I wanted to be able to help others in the village who may have found themselves without friends or relatives nearby to help them if needed. My parents live in Dorset with no family nearby and I’d like to think they were getting the same support.”
“Working on the project, I got a feeling of contributing to the great community spirit within Goostrey. I have made new friends and met some people living on my street I hadn’t met before. The feeling spread to my family as I was self isolating so my husband and son did the errands that needed to be done as a volunteer.”
Another Love Goostrey Volunteer, Ibrahim Sheikh said, “I initially got involved in the project because COVID was at that time just beginning to take effect here and we wanted to help to look after the vulnerable members of our community. The project soon snowballed into a real environment to connect those people who wanted to assist with those who needed assistance.”
“My favourite memory of the project is at the very start when I printed letters to deliver to the members of the area which I was looking after, introducing myself and explaining that I was here to help. I took my five-year-old daughter with me and explained to her why I was doing the project and she absolutely loved it. It was great to create memories whilst helping those most vulnerable.”
“People have been so pleased and grateful and it has created a lovely atmosphere of goodwill. It is so important to continue that and I am excited to do so. Putting a smile on people’s faces in a time of such uncertainty is certainly the best way forward.”
As Ibrahim notes, the Love Goostrey volunteers are not content to let the project go now. After all, there are still members of our community who need support through COVID quarantine and any villagers who need help are welcome to contact their local representative. The next phase though is to help support other voluntary projects through the village. A survey of the volunteers showed that over 97% of them were keen to carry on helping their village. If you would like to join then feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will add you to the list. In future when organisations need help, whether it’s Rose Day or the Goostrey Footpaths Society, we will hopefully be able to call on the army of volunteers who want to continue to make Goostrey an amazing place to live.