An innovative group in Holsworthy has been named as one of our two group winners in our Community Stars competition.
The Holsworthy Mutual Aid Support Group has been rewarded for supporting local people since March last year and has come up with creative ways to help the Holsworthy community including a ‘bake-off’ competition and dressing unused shop fronts with lockdown picture galleries to brighten up the town.
The group sprang into action as an immediate response to the pandemic and saw their dedicated phoneline inundated with calls for help with everyday tasks that had been made harder by Covid restrictions, such as picking up prescriptions and buying shopping.
The group soon discovered there are now more than 311 children receiving free school meals in Holsworthy compared to 198 before the pandemic, highlighting the extent of the struggle local families are facing to afford or access a nutritious diet. The group now regularly provides a hot healthy meal service for those families, taking the pressure off parents.
Jon Hutchings, from the Holsworthy Mutual Aid Covid support group, said: “We had over 1000 people join our Facebook group in the first lockdown, we advertised our phone number and overnight the phones were unbelievably busy. Our volunteers are just local people that want to make a difference and help out.
"We have had people come to us with requirements to kit out their homes after they have fled domestic abuse, people that need lifts to hospital appointments. Whatever people have needed we have been able to help with.”
The group was nominated for a LiveWest Community Stars award which sets out to recognise extraordinary acts of kindness and steps being taken to improve its customers’ lives.
For those needing treatment at the nearest hospital in Barnstaple, it’s a 60-mile round trip and the group has ensured that vulnerable people can get their vaccinations or access medical services by providing transport.
Recently the group coordinated the Holsworthy 'bake off' and gave a food parcel containing the ingredients for buns and rolls and there was an immediate flurry of photos of people’s culinary delights all over their Facebook page.
Alison Knight, Community Connector at LiveWest, said: “Holsworthy Mutual Aid have had a really fun and innovative approach to helping families feel connected through an extremely stressful time. The bake off really lifted spirits and enabled all ages to get involved. I was delighted they won a LiveWest Community Stars award for their approach to tackling the everyday difficulties that Covid has brought about.”
The LiveWest Community Stars awards will run on a quarterly basis and will include two categories. One is open to individuals and the other to community groups. The awards will recognise the efforts being taken to benefit LiveWest’s communities.
You can nominate yourself or someone else you feel deserves special recognition. LiveWest will award its quarterly Community Star individual winners with a £50 Love to Shop voucher, while issuing £100 for the quarterly winners in the community groups section. The money can be used to develop the services they are providing for the community. All nominations will be recognised on the LiveWest Website.
Leanda Flower, Community Investment Manager for LiveWest, said: “The coronavirus pandemic is having a huge impact on everyday lives, with people having to change the way they live and work.
“We have been wowed by stories showing how our customers are going above and beyond to support each other during these exceptionally challenging times.”
“We want to hear more of these stories, and we are encouraging people to nominate their community hero.”
To nominate yourself or someone else for the Community Stars awards, click here.