The Covid-19 outbreak saw lots of spontaneous community groups set up to meet the needs of their communities. Many of these were Mutual Aid Groups, composed of individuals banding togther over social media, others were centred around community hubs such as local businesses.
One such business is the Horse & Jockey in Melling, who gathred a team of local volunteers and ended up supporting not only their regulars in Melling, but residents in three different boroughs!
The Melling Community Volunteers have provided us with the following article, outlining their ongoing work during the outbreak, and their ambitions for the future:
“On Wednesday March 11, 2020, Sue Franklin the landlady of the Horse & Jockey pub Melling couldn’t sleep. Coronavirus was taking a hold of Italy and we knew the UK was heading for a lockdown situation. Being at the epicentre of a village pub, Sue and husband Adam are the secret keepers of the village. They know people in great detail and Sue knew a lot of elderly customers were going to struggle if they had to shield and nobody could shop for them.
“After discussing her worries with husband Adam and knowing that pubs would be shut, the husband and wife team agreed that they had to help in whatever way they could. Having a working kitchen and being able to cook for those in need seemed the immediate answer. Sue called for help on the pub’s Facebook page and by the next evening a core team of 30+ local volunteers assembled to become Melling Community Volunteers. The team coordinated the delivery of leaflets and started to generate a list of people who would need food and supplies.
Above: Sue Franklin of the Horse & Jockey Pub, preparing meals to be delivered by her fellow Melling Community Volunters.
“Since that day, over the last 11 weeks, the team of 30 local people have collected the meals from The Horse and Jockey that Sue and brother in law Dee have cooked fresh each day. They have delivered meals well out of the borders of Melling and have covered Kirkby, Fazakerley, Maghull, Aintree, Huyton and Bootle. An estimated 6,500 meals have been cooked and delivered to the elderly, those shielding, those with no family, single parents, families who have lost their livelihoods and hard working NHS frontline staff too.
Above: Melling Community Volunteer, Adam Franklin, delivers meals to NHS staff.
“Not being an official charity has proved difficult and while funding was granted for many charities and organisations to help support communities through the pandemic, Melling Community Volunteers did not qualify. The group has been able to continue to source ingredients for meals through the generosity of Aintree Parish Council, local suppliers and thanks to cash donations from local people via a specially created Justgiving crowdfunding page
“The volunteer group want the work to continue when lockdown starts to lift. Having felt like they have brought community members together, the team want to establish a Community Interest Company (CIC) to continue to support all people who live in Melling and surrounding areas. The dream and goal is to create activities and outreach programmes that will promote local farming, cooking fresh food on a budget and providing a community hub and space for different community groups including teenagers, new parents, the elderly and those marginalised.
“To donate to Melling Community Volunteers and help the group continue their work please visit their fundraising page.”