But equally extraordinary is the relief efforts taking places in villages across the area.
Recognising that difficult times were fast approaching because of the spread of Covid-19, a number of Churt parish councillors met on Sunday, March 15 in an emergency meeting, together with a few concerned local volunteers.
That early meeting, more than a week before the UK-wide ‘Stay at Home’ lockdown, enabled Churt Parish Council to establish very effective systems and partnerships, to help and protect vulnerable and all other self-isolating residents in our village.
Core parish council facilitators David Crossley, Dawn Barrow, Myra Johnson and Adrian Waller have worked with Churt’s tireless volunteer co-ordinator, Jo Corfield, to put in place the Churt Covid-19 Community Support Group – which now boasts more than 60 volunteers – and to promote community cohesion in difficult times via the village website www.churt.org
Over the past month, the busy group has:
* Designed and implemented a system with policies and procedures documented at www.churt.org/covid-19
* Taken advice from Churt Parish Council’s legal expert to develop a disclaimer which those requesting help are asked to acknowledge, to protect them as well as volunteers.
* Established a partnership with the Grayshott and surrounding villages Covid-19 initiative and call centre which receives calls from residents seven days a week, from 10am to 5pm, and passes them on to the Churt volunteer co-ordinator.
* Put in place a verification system for all volunteers and help requesters to protect against fraud and scammers.
* Issued all volunteers with official disclaimers to show to residents and police on request.
* Ensured all residents know about the service by hand delivering more than 600 flyers, disseminating them electronically via village networks and newsletter lists and via the village shop.
* Put together a list of important local numbers.
* Facilitated online shopping with local businesses.
* Operated a fast, responsive service with volunteers assisting local residents with shopping, prescription collection, dog walking and friendly phone calls with concerned residents.
* Responded to initial calls from more than 30 residents and established ongoing ‘buddy’ relationships for them with our volunteers for future support needs.
* Assisted an elderly resident found wandering along Churt’s quiet lanes.
* Promoted two local cohesion projects which span the generations, one to connect with nature and one to connect with local history.
* Posted relevant Surrey County, Waverley Borough Council and local Churt news online at www.churt.org/latest-news with daily updates.
* Added Rushmoor to the support group catchment area since it is situated in the ecclesiastical parish.
* Volunteers from Churt-based Visors for Care Givers has also been working around the clock to make and deliver vital visors for local care homes, hospitals and, soon, doctors’ surgeries too.
In the past week, some 800 pieces of vital personal protection equipment have been produced by a group of 40 volunteers, led by local garden designer Sarah Bicknell. They are currently aiming to provide a staggering 20,000 visors in the next few weeks (see Page 16 for more information).
Parish clerk Dawn Barrow said: “Our village is proud to see so many volunteers of all ages stepping forward to play their part during this time of worldwide crisis, and of the community cohesion which we can sense as the applause for our wonderful NHS echoes around our quiet lanes on Thursday evenings.
“We were also very proud that our Covid-19 Community Support Group has been recognised on several occasions in Jeremy Hunt’s daily coronavirus update.”