As from Monday 23rd March, a new helpline will be available to the Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge community who need help amid the restrictions of Coronavirus.
Through a community group formed through social media, volunteers have come forward offering people assistance with tasks such as shopping, walking of dogs, collecting of prescriptions etc.
Due to the high demand already, it has been decided to give the project a more structured base. As such, community group BiARS, which runs Burnham’s Information Centre, has offered to be the hub for the project due to its temporary closing as an information centre through Coronavirus.
The Burnham and Highbridge Coronavirus Support are delighted to partner with BiARS and say they appreciate the offer which will enable a more efficient streamlined delivery of service. This partnership enhances, rather than replaces, the existing community effort.
Burnham Information will be opening their phone line, 01278 787852, to those that need assistance and putting them in touch with those that have offered to assist and organisations that already are in place to help.
Alternatively, the group may still be contacted via its Facebook page or new email firstname.lastname@example.org
The initial opening of this number will be between the hours of 10am to 2pm seven days a week.
BiARS will be working co-operatively with organisations such as Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, Live West, SPARK, YMCA and many others to assist in helping as many people as possible requiring assistance throughout these troubled times.
Ian Jefferies, Manager of BiARS, says: “Seeing as we have had to shut our doors as an Info Centre, it seemed only right to offer assistance to the existing community group that has achieved amazing results to date.”
“With the infrastructure we already have in place, I hope together we can make a real difference for our community. Please bear with us as we get up and running in this project. The best help we as a community can give at this present time is to follow our council’s advice and check on each of our direct neighbours.”
Helen Groves, organiser of the community social media group, added: “Our community is frankly incredible, this group was established amazingly quickly. It is born of a shared sense of despair, a frustration at seeing quite negative things happening around us and fear for the wellbeing of people we knew would struggle with isolation, whether for practical reasons or loneliness.”
“Within hours it had gathered hundreds of pledges of support. The level of response, both in terms of offers of help, and requests for help, has been extremely high and it has reached a point that in purely logistical terms, we need to evolve to be able to continue to support each other effectively.”
“I am extremely grateful to BiARS and Ian Jefferies for their kind offer of premises and practical help that allows this community endeavour to develop and strengthen. I am also very grateful to the human dynamo that is the Town Council’s Jacqui Strong who has worked so hard all week to enable this progression.”
“This group is representative of all that is good in our towns in the face of an illness that utterly divides by its nature, our towns, communities and organisations. Both towns have pulled together and I have no doubt this fundamental unwillingness to stand aside and just allow bad things to happen in our community will get us through this period and shape a better way forward.”