Pandemic support scheme which helped many Wigan residents comes to an end

A pandemic support scheme which helped Wigan people isolating in their homes has been wound down.

Standish Coronavirus Help was running for 18 months since the first weekend of the lockdown when Standish Voice neighbourhood forum and the village’s three councillors – Adam Marsh, Debbie Parkinson and Ray Whittingham – formed the organisation to support those who did not want to leave their homes due to being severely at risk from Covid-19.

The group quickly assembled an army of volunteers from across Standish – with around 140 signed up to help their neighbours and ran a successful crowdfunder campaign which, combined with a grant from Wigan Council, paid for the running of the scheme.

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During the 18 months, hundreds of shopping payments have gone through the campaign’s books and many other small acts of kindness have been arranged, from medicine pick-up and drop-offs, helpers calling round just for a chat with those who could not leave their homes, and tradesmen being arranged for work to be carried out – sometimes free of charge.

Standish ward councillors and Standish Voice, part of Standish Coronavirus Support, deliver 70 free Christmas meals to vulnerable residentsStandish ward councillors and Standish Voice, part of Standish Coronavirus Support, deliver 70 free Christmas meals to vulnerable residents
Standish ward councillors and Standish Voice, part of Standish Coronavirus Support, deliver 70 free Christmas meals to vulnerable residents

Standish Coronavirus Help also arranged for the people it looked after to receive tulips in spring and poinsettias at Christmas and organised a festive hot meal for them in a partnership with a local pub.

Food parcels were also sent round at the start of the pandemic and a 24-hour, seven days a week helpline. ring The last people being helped through the scheme have now organised shopping to be dropped off in private arrangements, but the group stresses that it can restart if lockdowns are ordered again.

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A spokesman said: “We have had a rollercoaster ride with highs of the wonderful feedback from those we have helped to the despair of having some of those people pass away.

“The scheme has been something positive and uplifting out of a situation that was obviously terribly depressing and challenging for everyone.

“We would like to thank the many volunteers – some of whom were not called upon – who came forward to help those in need. We are incredibly grateful, too, to SMARTstrat, which has operated the helpline at its own expense, it was a lifeline to many people.

“Many of the friendships built up across the community will last for a lifetime.”

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