Three groups in Burnham-On-Sea and Highbridge have this week been presented with Somerset Medals after being recognised as some of Somerset’s unsung coronavirus heroes.
They include Burnham and Highbridge Coronavirus Support Group; the volunteers at Berrow Medical Centre; and Highbridge’s Morland Community Hub.
The Somerset Medal was launched by Somerset County Council to thank volunteers. The first individual winners were announced earlier this year with a second round of nominations opened to groups and teams.
Those honoured include vaccination volunteers, food deliverers, pop-up shop keepers and a whole host of others who all went above and beyond to make sure Somerset kept going during the pandemic.
The cross-party judging panel include Cllr David Fothergill, Leader of Somerset County Council, Cllr Christine Lawrence, Cabinet Member for Customers & Communities, Cllr Jane Lock, former Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, and Cllr Leigh Redman, Leader of the Labour Group, who reviewed every nomination before coming to their decision on the winners. All nominees will receive a letter from the panel thanking them for their efforts.
Cllr Fothergill says: “Reading the nominations was humbling. So many people stepped forward to help others at a very difficult time. Somerset’s record in volunteering is second to none – but so many went that extra mile during the pandemic.”
“I would like to thank them all on behalf of our county and I look forward to meeting them at the awards ceremony in September.”
Burnham and Highbridge Coronavirus Support Group are a team of about 120 people from all walks of life who came together in short notice to assist those that needed help since the pandemic started. A County Council spokesman says: “They mainly carry out duties such as shopping and prescription deliveries and have had many other requests during the time. They have carried out over 3,000 requests since the start and have formed many bonds within the community. Each of the volunteers have gone over and above what could have been asked of them and as a community, we are very proud of their achievements.”
The volunteers at Berrow Medical Centre also receives a group award. A council spokesman says: “They are a team of about 60 people who came together at short notice and have marshalled, in all weathers, over 23,000 people safely to have their vaccinations. They are the most pleasant friendly group and have amassed over 4,000 volunteer hours between them to ensure the smooth running of the vaccination campus at Berrow.”
Highbridge’s Morland Community Hub also received a group award. Since the start of the national Covid lockdowns, the Morland Hub team worked endlessly to support the local community. A council spokesman says: “This includes supplying emergency food supplies to those in need, hot meals being delivered weekly to the vulnerable, and crafting supplies to the elderly, to provide a necessary distraction to their often long and solitary days. Last Christmas Eve, the Hub became a food distribution centre, under their new ‘Food Not Waste’ scheme by becoming a major supermarket’s sole collector of their surplus food. This included collection of the food, making up parcels and delivering during the whole evening and once again on Boxing Day. The Hub team generously gave up their Christmas time until midnight, to help those less fortunate.”
More group awards were presented to other groups across Somerset, including: Samaritans Taunton, First Bus drivers of Yeovil, the Volunteers at Bridgwater PCN mass vaccination centre in North Petherton, the Intensive Dementia Support Service, Wells Coronavirus Network, Stoke St Gregory Community Group, Bridgwater Corona Helpers, Purplespoon Café, Bridgwater Foodbank, Active and In Touch Frome, Reflect disability group, Natalie Dyson of Coronavirus Community Help Taunton, Tesco Minehead, Co-op Team of Axbridge and Corona & the Cheddar Valley Community including Axbridge.
Pictured: Teams from Highbridge’s Morland Community Hub; the Burnham & Highbridge Coronavirus Support Group; and the volunteers at Berrow Medical Centre.