Your COVID Heroes!

The nominations are in and it's time to showcase some of the outstanding community work that took place in the South Hams during the COVID-19 lockdown and beyond.

More than a hundred nominations were received for people in the community who asked themselves at the start of the pandemic "What can I do to make a difference and get my community through these difficult times?" Every single one of the people nominated is a true hero, and we are so grateful for their efforts in the South Hams.

The categories were:

  • Community Leadership

  • Star Volunteer

  • Key Worker

  • Organisation

  • Innovative Wellbeing Scheme

  • Keeping Spirits Up

  • Young Community Hero

You can read the Nominations received below!

Age Concern, Kingsbridge - Organisation Award

Age Concern Kingsbridge recieved a nomination for their home deliveries to many of the lonely and isolated elderly people in and around Kingsbridge. Every day they cooked and delivered hundreds of meals, providing a vital service in lockdown for our elderly population.

Amanda Burwell - Star Volunteer Award

Amanda was nominated for her work collecting prescriptions five days a week and delivering them to vulnerable members of the community. She provided emotional and practical support to the vulnerable, and later went on to sourcing and eventually making facemasks.

Amandy reduced the anxiety of people in her community and provided much needed comfort. Her facemasks will have helped slow the spread of the virus and protected people.
We were thrilled to read that having enjoyed her volunteer work so much, Amanda has gone on to become a professional carer!

Andie Day - Community Leadership/Key Worker

Andie received several nominations, for organising the South Pool and Surrounding Villages Corona Support Group and facebook group. She organised volunteer prescription collectors, shoppers and weekly phone calls, and kept her community updated with regular updates and newsletters.

As if all this wasn't enough, Andie is a specialist oncology nurse, who was already working to support cancer patients whose treatment was discrupted by COVID-19.

Some of the quotes from her patients are below:

  • “Andie has been our rock, she has gone above and beyond her duties, we feel nothing is too much trouble for her. We thank God for the Andies of this world.”
  • "Andie’s commitment to Mum has been exceptional in all terms, time, medications, liaison with the Drs, chemist etc....There has also been constant support for me and I certainly wouldn't have managed without it"
  • “When my father came to live with us, 3 months before he died I was anxious and fearful. With her trade mark kindness and compassion and consummate professionalism, Andie led us through the process. Dad looked forward to her calls - he knew she really cared about him as a character not just another patient (or so it felt). I felt supported and was allowed to be an advocate in my father's care, which was critically important to me. I only realised how unique and special Andie and her role were when Andie took a much needed holiday and it felt as if the rug had been pulled from under us. No one could come close to the care and all-encompassing support Andie provided. I will forever be in her debt.”

Cathy Campos - Community Leadership

Cathy was nominated for her work in creating the Dartmouth Business Recovery Forum, to help local businesses get back on their feet after lockdown. By bringing together all of the most important business voices in the community, she provided leadership, reassurance, innovation and practical help for businesses in the town to make the best of a very difficult economic situation.

Chi Rei Kai Karate - Innovative Wellbeing Award

Jay and Ash Hawkes arranged regular Zoom training sessions for their students during lockdown, so that everyone could keep up with their training. They helped keep people fit and healthy, and increasing activity levels helped with the feelings of isolation for adults and kids alike. As well as this, students and teachers came together to perform 2020 punches to raise money for Devon Air Ambulance, the NHS and Devon and Cornwall Police to help with the increasing costs of PPE. They smashed their target of £500 and raised £770!

Dawn Shepherd - Community Leaderhsip

Dawn worked tirelessly as leader of Dartmouth Community Chest to ramp up the amount of help the group provided for local people during lockdown. With Dawn at the helm, the group provided meals, transport, shopping and support to some of the most viulnerable members of the community when they needed it most. The people who nominated her described Dawn as "an absolute lifeline."

Emma Coker - Star Volunteer

Emma Coker was nominated by a grateful member of the public for her help with shopping, childcare and day to day help. Her nominator said that he made his day-to-day life seem normal and safe again.

Geoff Ross - Star Volunteer

Throughout the lockdown, Geoff collected around 20 prescriptions every week and delivered them throughout Bigbury and Bigbury on Sea. Elderly people in these areas would have really struggled to get vital medication without Geoff's help.

Gill Evans - Key Worker

Gill is a member of staff at SHDC, and was nominated for an award by a grateful member of the public, who Gill started working with in her role as a housing officer who works with rough sleepers. Gill's nominator said "Earlier this year I was without a home , pregnant and in a disrupted and hopeless state - things startedlooking a lot more positive when I met Gill , who is a SHDC rough sleepers housing officer. She helped get me into temporary accommodation and four months later I am in my very own home, Gill has met me on a weekly basis throughout COVID-19 and helped with everything that I would struggle to do alone, applications, phonecalls, making connections, anything I needed help with, Gill has been there with a really positive and practical attitude and vowed we get it sorted! Even still working on her week off, Gill has been an absolute angel, she's gone over and beyond her job expectations, I don't know what I would have done without her, she is absolutely amazing, my hero and I can't thank her enough for helping me get my life on track and being my key support through these times and I know that she's making a monumental effort to help many others that are in a difficult position too. A a lovely, kind, busy proactive lady and a real hero!"

Graham Smith - Organisation

Graham Smith is the chairman of Kingsbridge Age Concern (see their nomination above!) and was nominated for an award by his son! Graham's son Paul said "It was his idea to introduce the home delivery service, after the Covid-19 lockdown meant sit-down meals were no longer an option. Graham works tirelessly. He arrives at 7am to open up and start planning for the day, and he doesn’t sit down until the last meal has gone out for delivery. Now that’s real dedication and in my book makes him a superstar!"

Sara Hull and Holly Trafford - Key Workers

Sara and Holly are the librarians at Ivybridge Community College, and during the lockdown they delivered books to the students so that they could still read during lockdown. This was a hugely important connection with school for the students, providing them with access to books and learning, and giving them something to do - an escape into a good book was something we all needed from time to time!

Ian and Marion Adams - Keeping Spirits Up

Ian and Marion gave up their time to help a neighnour with stage 4 cancer, calling every day and doing his shopping, and making sure that their neighbour got all the help he was entitled too. They cooked food for him, helped with paperwork and took him to hospital appointments. Ian and Marion's nominator said "They gave me hope to fight to live to see my wife and daughter again."

Ivybridge Post Office - Community Leadership

The staff at Ivybridge Post office worked hard throughout the pandemic to keep things running, so that people could still get their pensions and pay their bills - even going so far as to open the counter outside of hours for people who were confused about opening hours and social distancing.

Jane Sullivan - Key Worker

As the manager of South Brent Caring, Jane largely co-ordinated the efforts to recruit and direct volunteers during the lockdown. She arranged a wide range of support and services to those in need, working long hard hours and making hundreds of phone calls. Jane's enthusiasm and unfailing good humour was a major factor in making the efforts of South Brent Assist so successful - she inspired others to achieve their goals.

Jane Yilmaz - Star Volunteer

Jane volunteered to do shopping for people who were shielding in Woolwell. Her nominator praised her kindness, saying that nothing was too much trouble for her, and that she gave much-needed peace of mind.

Janet Dobinson - Keeping Spirits Up

Janet received several nominations from the people of Woolwell, for whom she serves as Pastor. She kept people cheerful through lockdown by holding online services for Roborough Methodist Church, and was always there for people to talk to. Janet's nominators said that she was there for everyone, always smiling and would do anything for anyone.

Jonathan Parsons - Community Leadership

Jonathan undertook a huge amount of work during the pandemic and the lock down, from organising volunteers for food and medicine deliveries, setting up a telephone helpline for requesting help and working with Ivybridge Foodbank to make sure that everyone who asked for help received it.

On top of this, Jonathan was instrumental in keeping Ivybridge town council running smoothly, and set up all of the COVID secure arrangements so that people were able to continue working. His IT knowledge meant that Ivybridge Town Council were quickly able to adapt to remote working, and has generally been a huge support to his colleagues.

Kingsbridge Food Bank - Organisation

Kingsbridge Food Bank co-ordinated and supplied food to struggling families on a scale never imagined throughout the COVID-19 crisis. They deliver hundreds of food parcels every week, giving comfort and reassurance to desperate families.

Lee Morcom - Keeping Spirits Up

Lee received an absolutely astonishing 28 nominations from the people of Woolwell for his genius creation of Woolwell FM. Every night at 6.30 p.m. Lee has played three or more songs for his neighbours and brought the community together to fundraise for St Lukes Hospice. He's also dressed up in some fabulous costumes (our favourite is the Kylie one) to bring a smile to his neighbours. Luke's nominators thanked him for the fun, laughter and happiness that he brought to them all, but most of all the sense of togtherness that he's provided. We'd love to include every word of his 28 nominations, but there wouldn't be room! Rest assured that we'll make sure Lee sees them.

Lesley Delamar - Star Volunteer

Lesley was nominated by her grateful neighbours after going shopping for them all every week during lockdown, and kept them all safe.

Lions Club of Ivybridge

The Ivybridge Lions club set up a collection round in Ivybridge to collect food donations for the Ivybridge foodbank. They kept the foodbank supplied consistently throughout lockdown, and are still doing the rounds now.

Michelle Hooper - Keeping Spirits Up

Michelle helped many people in her community by collecting prescription, picking up shopping and checking in on them regularly. She helped people to feel cared for during a difficult time, and kept them involved in the community, lessening the isolation for many people.

Nick Hindmarsh - Community Leadership

Nick is the Manager of Dartmouth Caring and organised a new Meals on Wheels service. The service has so far delivered more than 7000 free meals to vulnerable members of the community. He also co-ordinated volunteer efforts for shopping and prescription collections, and made sure that all the volunteers were DBS checked. Nick was described by his nominators as an example of excellence not just in management skills but also in team building, kindness and caring.

Redfern Health Centre, Salcombe

The Redfern Health centre were nominated to thank them for their care of people shielding during lockdown. Their nominator praised the kindness, professionalism and helpfulness of everyone at the Health Centre, from the Doctors and District Nurses to the Receptionists, and thanked them for the care of her father.

South Hams District Council Disabled Facilities Grants Team - Key Worker

The DFG team were nominated by a grateful customer who had her property adapted during lockdown so that she could continue to live there as safely as possible. Like all SHDC staff they were working through lockdown and worked hard to make sure planned works went ahead as safely as possible so that people were not inconvenienced.

South Hams District Council Waste Crews - Key Worker

Our waste teams received several nominations, so thank you to those who nominated them! Many people thanked them for carrying on as normal during lockdown and making sure the bins got emptied, which would have been impossible for people to manage themselves. Others commented on how willing the crews were to put themselves at risk by collecting waste that was potentially contaminated. All the nominations thanked the crews for staying cheerful and maintaining their friendly outlook!

South Brent Assist - Organisation

South Brent Assist were formed by South Brent Caring as a response to the pandemic, and provided vital services to the residents of South Brent throughout the lockdown and beyond. They recruited over a hundred volunteers, set up a new foodbank which was used by 183 people, made 1580 befriending calls, delivered 840 lots of shopping and delivered 360 meals to shielding and vulnerable people.

Volunteers also set up a listening service for people wanting support, ran virtual coffee mornings and delivered prescriptions.

Stoke Fleming Village Shop and Post Office - Organisation

Becky Marsh and Rob Pomeroy really stepped up to help and support their local community. They offered free deliveries of supplies and even newspapers around the village, picked up and delivered prescriptions, ran a telephone ordering service, acted as a central communications hub to keep people informed and in touch throughout lockdown.

As things began to return to normal, they carried on - promoting and advertising other businesses as they reopened, and buying in supplies from local nurseries and gardeners for the village. This proved so popular that they soon out!

Throughout the pandemic, Becky and Rob have always had a smile on their faces and been full of offers to help. The people who nominated them said they have been absolute stars, and they wouldn't ever want to be without this wonderful pair.

Support Ugborough - Community Leadership

The group of enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers, too many to mention individually, that enabled Support Ugborough to get up and running quickly and function effectively through a tough time and will do so again should the need arise. This is a snapshot of what they achieved:

  • Provision of regular information on the local ‘BUGLE’ email, Ugborough website and Facebook page, including a list of local suppliers of food.

  • Shopping and picking up prescriptions for vulnerable people.

  • Weekly Post Office in the Village Hall until this could be reinstated in the Church.

  • Telephone chats with vulnerable people.

  • Periodic provision of treats of flowers and baking for vulnerable people and key workers.

  • Distribution of flour (provided at wholesale price by a local bakery). This was supported by an enthusiastic WhatsApp group of bakers sharing information on sourdough bread making.

  • Weekly bread distribution to vulnerable people by one enthusiastic baker.

  • Weekly outdoor veg and fruit stall.

  • Weekly plant swap on the Church Green.

  • Virtual quizzes to keep people connected socially.

  • ‘Scruborough’ group who made around 75 sets of scrubs for front line workers and then face coverings for residents.

  • A quilting group who are still working on a lockdown inspired quilt.

  • And finally…a lockdown diary kept by one resident as a record of the Ugborough experience.

Susan Silsbury - Innovative Wellbeing Scheme

Susan is already a hero to many, as a nurse at Totnes hospital, but in recent weeks she's raised over £8000 by sewing and selling facemasks on her day off! The money has gone to local charities, and her fabulous facemasks can be seen adorning the faces of Totnesians everywhere!

Tracy Clapp - Star Volunteer

Tracy was nominated for the support she provided to residents of Malborough, regularly shopping and collecting prescriptions for vulnerable people shielding.

Teena Barrett - Community Leadership

Teena works for South Hams Citizen's Advice, and when lockdown was announced she single-handedly co-ordinated the activities of sixty volunteers so that they could continue their volunteer work from home. As a result of Teena's work, the service was able to carry on working during a time of unprecedented demand - they have not lost a day's service and have been able to help local people achieve financial gains of over £1 million!

Dan Tucker - Star Volunteer

Dan is a computer engineer who voluntarily supports the Rotary Lockdown Learning Project in his spare time. The project has processed 90 laptop donations which are cleaned and reprogrammed by Dan, and then donated to local schools for students working remotely. The project is supporting primary and secondary schools in and around Ivybridge, and without Dan's support and knowledge it would have struggled to get off the ground! Thanks to Dan, disadvantaged children in our community have been able to keep learning through lockdown and beyond.

6th Kingsbridge Scout Group - Organisation

The Scout group and its leaders have worked tirelessly to make sure that they can continue to deliver a rewarding and enjoyable scouting experience for as many local children as possible. Almost all extra curricular activities and clubs for children have stopped and many have struggled to resume in line with social distancing restrictions. 6th Kingsbridge Scout group is one of only a handful across Devon who have been able to break the trend and manage to reopen - and this is entirely down to the hard work and dedication of its volunteers and leaders.