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Frome’s amazing community spirit

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There has been an extraordinary community response in Frome to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

As people stayed at home to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, local volunteers leapt into action to support vulnerable residents across Frome. The community has rallied around like never before by going the extra mile and helping those in need.

There have been countless heart-warming cases of people helping their neighbours, businesses helping those on the front line and those isolating at home and people giving to those in need or organising online fund-raising events to support local charities and organisations.

Mayor Anita Collier said she was ‘blown away’ by how quickly people rallied round to help others while the community response has been has described as ‘amazing’ as local groups, authorities, and members of the community worked together to help hundreds of isolated and vulnerable residents with tasks such as shopping, prescription collections, and delivering emergency food parcels. 

Volunteers also provided a friendly listening ear to those in need, making regular phone calls to people self-isolating at home.

As established local groups like Fair Frome, Active & In Touch, Frome Community Drivers, and Purple Elephant, adapted their services to help the community, new groups and services were formed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sewers banded together to form ‘Masks for All’, helping to make over 2,000 facemasks for essential workers; whilst a group of cyclists set up ‘Frome AtoB’ volunteering their time to deliver prescriptions for a local pharmacy, and deliver free meals, cooked by two local food businesses, to keyworkers.

Within days of lockdown restrictions being introduced, Frome Town Council launched its ‘let’s get Frome covered’ initiative, asking local people to check on their five nearest neighbours. They also managed a signposting helpline service, which has helped over 500 people access support. As well as also setting up two new services – FruberEats and ShopForMe.

The town council reports, “FruberEats is our emergency food parcel delivery service for people who are in isolation and have immediate needs. 75 food parcels went out to residents last week to residents mainly over 70 without support. This is in addition to Fair Frome who operate the food bank service. The system has been built for growth if required.

“ShopForMe, is our volunteer matching shopping service currently supporting 42 households with volunteers in the first instance with the capacity (and volunteers) for many more.”

One user of the FruberEats service said, “The emergency food parcel I received was just the ticket. I was relying on a neighbour who then had to self-isolate but one call through to the council’s helpline and I received an emergency food parcel that very afternoon. 

“It was full of the basics that I needed to tide me over and then they even gave me my own volunteer who has been able to go to the shops for me and buy my weekly shop. I’m so very grateful for the help, it’s stopped me worrying and it’s so nice to know there’s help if you need it” 

Volunteer for the ShopForMe service, Alex, said, “It’s pretty amazing how everything has changed and how quickly people can gear themselves up to a new situation. 

“I’m working with the town council, a few weeks ago none of this existed but they have re-orientated themselves to deliver this massive social programme, pairing us volunteers up with residents who need help, and coaching us through everything we need to do to stay safe and keep the residents safe. 

“It’s pretty amazing and it’s all happened so quickly, and it’s nice too see how people have pulled together in this crisis.” 

• We’d love to hear your stories about life during lockdown and how you or your loved ones have been helped. Email news@frometimes.co.uk

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