Stratford’s support shines through

An initiative spearheaded by Stratford-upon-Avon Town Council, Stratford Town Trust and other partners has made a real difference to those members of the community who are vulnerable, isolated or had to self-isolate due to illness during lockdown.

Stratford Support was designed to be a one stop shop where people could offer their services as a volunteer, request support and find resources to help them. Two leaflets were distributed to every resident in the town informing them of how to access the scheme and providing them with other useful information.

Paul Hiatt found the support offered to his 94-year-old mother made a massive difference: “It’s been fantastic and helped tremendously through this difficult time.”

Between April – August, a total of 112 households accessed the service and over 500 shops were completed. 25 people each week received wellbeing calls and 50 prescriptions or medicine items were collected. The success of the scheme demonstrates how the people of Stratford really pull together to support each other at a time of crisis.

Aneata, who signed up to become a volunteer for Stratford Support said: “I volunteered because unlike me, there were a lot of vulnerable people who were completely on their own. I’ve always believed that the most precious commodity we possess is time. None of us know how much of it we have, and to give someone your time is the greatest gift you could give. I have loved every minute of my volunteering and intend to continue in some form or other going forward.”

Sarah Summers from the Town Council said: “We were delighted to join with our colleagues at Stratford Town Trust to create this vital support service and we remain indebted to all of the people that came forward to offer their help”.

Sara Aspley, Stratford Town Trust added: “Without the co-operation and collaboration of a number of local voluntary groups and the team at the Stratford branch of Morrisons we would not have been able to achieve so much. It was really heartwarming to see the town come together in this way.”

The partners who helped to deliver Stratford Support alongside the Town Council and the Town Trust, were the Stratford upon Avon branch of Morrisons, VASA, Stratford Foodbank, Orbit Housing and Timebank.

Over the last couple of months, demand for Stratford Support’s service has reduced in line with eased restrictions but it is poised to meet any increase in need as we head towards winter.