Emma Doney, Adorno Co-Founder, has been short listed for a BBC Make a Difference Lockdown Superstar Award for her work towards setting up the Yate and Sodbury Neighbourhood Scheme (YSNS) and the Yate and Sodbury Toy and Activity Bank during the Covid-19 crisis.
When lockdown was announced in March, she immediately set up, and developed a huge network of volunteers all over Yate and Chipping Sodbury, who provided assistance to hundreds of older, vulnerable and shielding people.
Help was provided for anything needed: shopping, prescription collection, library drop offs, post office runs, personal shopping for books, presents, cards.
The Facebook page ‘YSNS Covid-19 Help and Support’ which now has 3900 members and 130 volunteers, each covering streets nearest to their home has over 400 streets covered. Any calls or messages for help are immediately referred to nearest volunteer while working with the 2 local town councils. All streets had to be leafleted with the name and contact details of the nearest volunteer and this was also extended into surrounding hamlets. Thousands of errands and visits have been completed. The Facebook page is now the best local platform for news and information about any organisations helping during this difficult time.
Not only was practical help given, but volunteers have often befriended those needing help, and stopped for a socially distanced chat each time they visited, boosting morale and lessening the effects of isolation. Alongside Rachel Price, Emma has also started ‘Yate and Sodbury Toy and Activity Bank’ one in Chipping Sodbury, one in Yate at Cranleigh Court Road. Donations of toys, games and puzzles suitable for adults and children confined to home can be collected by anyone in need, for anyone. All items are sanitised, and passed out through networks of volunteers.
Challenges the schemes have faced include – vetting volunteers, establishing distancing and sanitising rules, providing enough PPE when we all know what short supply it can be in!
A truly tremendous support to very many people – done quietly and in the background.
Bill from Yate, says, ‘Sally (volunteer) has been an absolute lifeline and has become a real friend.’
Finalists for the award will have a Great Western Railway train named after them 🤩