Lancashire Hill Aid group
Marie O’Malley, a Healthy Communities Programme Worker at Stockport Council, is a Team Around the Place Captain for the Tame Valley area of Stockport. Through her work she realised that, since the lockdown began in March, there was very little support available for those living in Lancashire Hill and struggling due to the lockdown, and so she set out to help this community.
She started by ensuring that Lancashire Hill would be part of a weekly free bread drop service, organised by the council’s Neighbourhood Inclusions team. Marie brought attention to this service by posting on a Lancashire Hill-based social media page, which prompted residents to volunteer their assistance, including one person who turned up with a supermarket trolley to help with the bread drop! “This brought joy to these residents,” Marie said, “and, through their own links on the Hill, attracted another resident to start thinking about what they could do.”
Kirstie, volunteer and Lancashire Hill resident
We just wanted to make sure everyone had someone to support them. It’s such an enclosed space that we live in, and people don’t have access to gardens, it’s about engaging everyone and giving them some purpose.
On Lancashire Hill social media, a woman had asked for help, her father lived on Lancashire Hill but his family were all in Australia, and his daughter was worried that he wouldn’t manage through the lockdown on his own. A volunteer named Lou offered to do his weekly shop for him and to be the man’s contact if he needed anything.
The group started to run weekly drawing competitions for children to keep them occupied and busy during the lockdown, with rewards and gifts to keep them motivated. The amazing volunteers didn’t stop there, they wanted to do even more for people across the Lancashire Hill community. “We just wanted to make sure everyone had someone to support them,” said Kirstie, a volunteer and Lancashire Hill resident.
Having noticed that a lot of elderly residents were saying they had nothing to do during the lockdown, the team of volunteers came up with the idea of giving out ‘brain stimulating packs’ which were distributed to improve the mental health and wellbeing of their community and to keep people entertained. “It’s such an enclosed space that we live in, and people don’t have access to gardens,” Kirstie said. “It’s about engaging everyone and giving them some purpose.”
The volunteers did lots of research through friends and neighbours to identify residents who were shielding, who had health problems, who were on low income – anyone who might need a helping hand. Working with volunteers in the community, Marie helped the group put in an application to Stockport Local Fund: Community Support. This was successful, and the funding enabled the volunteers to make and distribute care packs to those in need. Kirstie is involved with organising the care packs and the “overwhelming” amount of donations they have had and has stayed in regular contact with Marie throughout this process. She said: “Marie has been amazing. None of this would have happened without her.”
The volunteers of Lancashire Hill aid group continue to work to raise spirits and help people out in Lancashire Hill. Marie has been a champion of this community, and has brought in colleagues across the council, council partners, and the wider community to help. “These people, who have stepped up and put to one side their own problems, should be recognised by others in a positive way,” Marie said. “They should shout that Lancashire Hill is a great place to live.”
- Facebook group: Lancashire Hill community and residents page