‘THOSE small acts of kindness go a very, very long way’ – the community response army could continue post-coronavirus.

An army of community groups were set up within the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM) since lockdown was announced to help vulnerable residents or those shielding with food shopping or with their wellbeing.

RBWM councillors heard at a health and wellbeing board on July 21 (Tuesday) that 750 residents signed up to volunteer with council staff redeployed to help nearly 3,000 people on the shielded list – where members were told volunteers were wanting to continue this community response post-coronavirus.

Those who could not be contacted via emails, social media or telephone were visited by the borough’s community wardens for assistance.

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During the public health crisis, 50 groups have been supported with £20,000 grant funding with another £58,000 for local groups coming from external funders.

The council’s director of adults, health, commissioning, Hilary Hall, said a pilot scheme will be set up in Windsor to create learning opportunities for volunteer groups and support their work for and in a specific area.

This will involve a wide-ranging, all age community consultation to identify these opportunities such as if the results show volunteers want to run a community café.

A reach communities funding application will be submitted to support this from initiatives identified from the consultation.

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Councillor Stuart Carroll (Conservative: Boyn Hill), lead member for health and social care, asked if RBWM received any specific feedback from volunteers in how the council can enable others to come forward to volunteer?

Hilary Hall responded saying by offering training development and the opportunities, it can attract and engage more volunteers as they will ‘get something back’ and be able to do more broader activities.

Cllr Carroll said: “I think despite all of the challenges and horrors from the pandemic – it’s terrible seeing people suffering and dying – there is some salutary aspects to this and I think one of the big ones is people pulling together, the community spirit, and the level of volunteering.

“We have ambitious plans a foot to try and ensure that the level of volunteering remains high and, if possible, get more people involved.

“Those small acts of kindness go a very, very long way. So, it’s very good to see.”