What motivated you to support in the first place?
I have always enjoyed helping others and wanted to do my bit to support others in my community and contribute towards the national effort.
What sort of activities have you been assigned to?
I have been shopping twice a week for a family shielding and collecting a prescription for an individual who doesn’t want to go to the pharmacy in a large supermarket, being there to have a chat when needed as he and his partner are having to cope with challenging neighbours.
Have you been doing any volunteering outside of the Council's central response?
I have also responded to a call for volunteer befrienders from the Royal Air Force (RAF) Association during this time. They wanted to call everyone in their database and check if anyone needed any assistance. I was allocated 5 ex RAF veterans. Most served in the 1950s. As a veteran myself I think they have really valued being contacted by the RAF ‘family’ and, with a common bond, chatting about their time in the military as a welcome distraction to the current situation.
What have you gained through building these relationships?
It is a nice feeling to know you are making a difference, no matter how small, to people who have been placed in temporarily vulnerable situations. It has given me a better insight into the challenges people living very locally have to deal with regardless of the pandemic and that is really humbling. It makes me determined to continue to make a difference when the current crisis passes.
What have you discovered about your community (or the city) through people supporting one another?
It reinforces that when a community come together around a common effort brilliant things happen. I’m proud to be part of Bristol City Council’s response. I’ve also learned that there is a great BCC team of coordinators and wider teams who have had to adapt quickly to new roles and use their judgement and trust to enable people like me to do our bit.
How can communities build on their strengths going forward in order to help the city recover?
It would be great to see initiatives like this going as the challenges people face aren’t going to go away. Fear and loss will prevail and, in particular, the economic fallout is not yet understood so members of our community are going to need to rely on people for many years to come to survive and thrive. It'll be really important that people continue to come together and act together to make up for these losses.