COMMUNITY SUPPORT SCHEME PROVED VITAL DURING PANDEMIC CELEBRATES 1ST ANNIVERSARY

A community support scheme which has provided essential services to local residents who are vulnerable or have been shielding or isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic, celebrates its 1st anniversary today. The Be A Good Neighbour charity, run by Crewkerne Community Church with a large team of volunteers, began 12 months ago from an idea and a name on a piece of paper.

As the UK entered its first lockdown in March 2020, the BAGN scheme offered shopping and prescription services for local residents who were unable to collect their own groceries or visit pharmacies for medical supplies. A telephone service was also set up for those who welcomed hearing a friendly voice, in times of anxiety and uncertainty and hot meals were prepared and delivered to residents in need of them.

The BAGN charity in Crewkerne now has 13 volunteers working on administration tasks and over 150 willing helpers, including 20 chefs and delivery drivers. Reverend Stephen Gray of Crewkerne Community Church said: “It has been a privilege to serve our community in times of need, from a place of friendship, compassion and joy.” The free meals, delivered twice weekly, are prepared in the community church kitchen by volunteers who hold Food and Hygiene certificates, ensuring that both the main meals and desserts are full of nutritious ingredients. Volunteers working on the telephone service and reaching out weekly to residents, have undergone training with Mind in Somerset and are able to signpost residents to further resources, if needed.

Local school students whose families have needed help to buy school shoes, coats or with dinner money, have also been supported by the BAGN scheme and a new service has recently been introduced for those who have been shielding or isolating for long periods and are anxious about going out again. Reintroduction Into The Community is helping residents to settle into the ‘new normal’ by explaining the need for queuing, wearing a face covering and making cashless purchases, at the same time helping to rebuild confidence levels and lessen anxieties.

As Be A Good Neighbour marks its first birthday, the charity is very grateful to Crewkerne businesses, organisations, schools, the town council and of course its teams of volunteers for their support in making this vital community service such a resounding success over the past year. Anyone who wants to donate food for either the free meals or the top-up food bank at Crewkerne Community Church can deposit their items in the designated basket at the Waitrose store in Crewkerne. For more information please visit www.bagn.co.uk or to contact BAGN directly, please call 01460 77489, during office hours Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8.30 am – 2 pm, or email office@bagn.co.uk

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