Back in March 2020, we mobilised funds to help organisations to support vulnerable groups and individuals in our parish during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Following a successful application for £1,000, the Solomon Browne Memorial Hall has implemented a range of new ways to help support the village community of Mousehole:
The Hall’s first action was to identify all potentially vulnerable people in the area and potential volunteers. A call was then put out on social media for volunteers to get involved and they had a positive response.
The system was a great success with over 60 households being regularly supported. The support came in the form of shopping and prescription deliveries, as well as providing essential human interaction for those living alone. Many vulnerable people in the area have said that just having a chat with their volunteer was the thing they most looked forward to – “you’ve been a life saver”, “I don’t know what I’d do without you”
As lockdown restrictions continue to be lifted, a legacy of this project is that many people have made new, lasting friendships and the emotional support is continuing.
Every household in the village received a flyer about a new telephone helpline. The scheme was also promoted widely on social media and in local newspapers. “We wanted to make sure that no one slipped through the net” said Tamsin Harvey, Centre Manager for the Solomon Browne Memorial Hall, “we also asked many people and knocked on many doors to make sure that every potentially vulnerable person knew how get help should they need it.”
At first, they had many calls asking for help with things like collecting prescriptions which was passed onto their volunteer network. As the volunteer network mobilised, the number of calls to the helpline decreased, which is testament to the amazing work of the network.
The Hall also provided small emergency supplies fund to help people who were too worried to leave their home or were unable to access cash. Those who came forward for the fund were in dire need and were immensely grateful as it enabled them to buy essential items.
As the government’s furlough scheme, and support for those who are self-employed, are set to change, the Hall anticipate that they may need to issue more emergency grants later this summer.
To address loneliness and other mental health challenges during this difficult time, the Hall worked with Mousehole School and Mousehole Archive, to create a ‘Smile Bag’. The idea was to provide mental stimulation and remind people that there is support nearby.
The Smile Bags included pictures drawn by local children, photographs, information about the history of the village from the Mousehole Archive, puzzles, books, soap and hand cream.
Each week, staff from the Hall took a cart around the village which acted as a mobile library, and included books and jigsaw puzzles.
Quotes from local residents:
“You said that this was a smile bag, and it really was, you have made me smile.”
“This has made my year!”
Impact on the local community – conclusion from Tamsin Harvey
This work has connected us more closely with the more vulnerable members of our community. The funding from Penzance Council has allowed us to continue working throughout this time and has meant that we have been able to provide vital support to individuals who most needed it.
We are very grateful for the support from Penzance Council which has been so beneficial to the community.
The Solomon Browne Memorial Hall is continuing to provide support to the local community of Mousehole. You can find more information by visiting the Solomon Browne Memorial Hall’s website and their Facebook page.