We did not know this pandemic was going to happen, and certainly none of us realised how great the impact would be on people’s lives, but a Neighbourhood Watch organisation with a strong structure and leadership is always there for its members and community. It is ready to deal with problems and evolve to solve them. I believe that Park Hall Area Neighbourhood Watch (PHANW) is doing this. We are learning every day; we are using our personal life and work skills to make our organisation efficient and effective.
On 13th March 2020, PHANW went into action and set up its own Covid-19 Support Group.
The aim of the group was to provide support for anyone in our community who was self-isolating, sick, elderly, or vulnerable and would need essential shopping. There are 3,000 households in our area and over a third of our community is over the age of 65 so we felt it was critical that we stepped in and provided reassurance to all and that as a group we could help each other. Our Covid-19 Support WhatsApp group was created with over 60 volunteers recruited within hours: the logistics and planning had begun. In less than 72 hours we created our own flyer, had it printed, and then delivered it to every household in the area.
The flyer explained that we had set up a dedicated mobile number and that residents in our community could call and leave a voice message or send us a text message requesting assistance which we would respond to. Immediately we began getting requests asking us to collect prescriptions and shop for groceries and essentials. At the time of writing we have completed 130 deliveries to our community and continue to receive regular requests every day.
We have expanded our operation, thanks to qualified professionals from within our community who have volunteered their services, to include telephone calls to deal personal wellbeing issues. We are also working in partnership with our local Coop store and pharmacy to provide deliveries on their behalf to their customers.
At the same time we launched our GoFundMe page https://www.gofundme.com/f/covid19-support-parkhall-walsall to raise funds to support our PHANW Covid-19 Support Group and assist our community where anyone has problems with essential shopping because of financial difficulties.
So, who are we? Well, for more information come and visit us on www.phanw.com.
This is a million miles away from the stereotypical image of curtain-twitching busy bodies. This is Neighbourhood Watch in action helping to strengthen its community by making it safer and caring for its residents.