Covid-19 support group in Hassocks and Keymer has ‘wonderful’ response

A Covid-19 support group set up in Hassocks and Keymer at the start of the pandemic has stopped its services amid eased restrictions.

Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 11:34 am
Updated Wednesday, 5th August 2020, 1:17 pm
Volunteer Sarah Prater delivering a prescription to Hassocks residents, Ann and John Clifford

The group has helped residents throughout lockdown with food and prescription deliveries.

Lauretta Major, owner of Hassocks Village Cleaners, and resident Jermayne French, realised that some villagers would be harder hit than others and would need support.

Putting their heads together with other residents, the covid volunteer group was born.

Lauretta said “We knew there would be a need to support many of our shielding residents.

“We worked with Budgens to set up a home shopping service, and with Day Lewis and Boots to arrange prescription delivery.

“We then recruited volunteers through Facebook. We leafleted the whole village with details of our service and we started to receive calls to our helpline set up by local business, xoomtalk.”

Jermayne added: “Since lockdown started in March, we have taken and delivered nearly 400 shopping orders and over 300 prescriptions as well as providing some other ad hoc support.

“It has been wonderful to see the community response and it has been a privilege to be involved in the group during this worrying time.

“We had over 200 volunteers, and couldn’t use everybody, which is testament to how supportive and neighbourly Hassocks is.”

The group stopped its services on Saturday (August 1). Volunteers are now working with all service users to ensure they can manage for themselves again or have the support they need going forward.

Ann and John Clifford of Hassocks said the group ‘changed their lives’.

They added: “We were lucky enough to find the volunteers when coronavirus changed our lives through shielding.

“They were willing to bring our prescriptions and deliver goods from Budgens every week.

“Our volunteer, Sarah, is a local nurse and mum and is so friendly and chatty.

“The group has helped people in isolation to feel like they are not forgotten.

“Hassocks residents have really pulled together in this crisis and the community is as great as it always was.

“We owe the volunteers a lot and are so grateful for them. They are our heroes and heroines.”

The group is now also working to record this strange time through compiling art work from local children describing their experience of lockdown into a book which will be available at the library and schools in Hassocks.