A lot has been made about recognising the workers on the frontline of the NHS during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, rightly so, but what about the less-acknowledged groups in the community who have been putting themselves at risk to serve others at this time?
Clapping for the NHS staff and carers every Thursday was a great initiative that boosted the morale of many at this time, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that there are millions of others making an equally important contribution in the face of adversity, including thousands of people living in Cumbernauld and surrounding areas. Mary McNeil, Development Manager at Cornerstone House Centre, remarked:
“As a Community Anchor Organisation, Cornerstone House Centre has had the privilege of hearing of new stories every day about individuals and groups who are sacrificing their own needs and interests to help vulnerable citizens in Cumbernauld right now.
“There are too many to mention here, but a heartfelt thanks goes out to organisations such as Bethlehem House of Bread Food Bank, CACE Older People Active Lives, Carbrain and Hillcrest Community Council, Chryston Community Council, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth Citizens Advice Bureau, Cumbernauld COVID-19 Support Group, Cumbernauld Poverty Action, Cumbernauld Resilience Group and The Trussell Trust.
“It’s amazing to see how communities in Cumbernauld have come together so strongly and resiliently during this national emergency. It is a real honour for Cornerstone House Centre to be a partner agency of such groups through its Cumbernauld CHaT Service.”
Below, Cumbernauld Community Health Information Hub takes a look at some of the more generic groups that you might not have thought about that are making a difference by helping others during the coronavirus outbreak. If you are part of one of these groups, we tip our hat to you today.
10 UNSUNG GROUPS MAKING A HUGE CONTRIBUTION DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
Because employees of Tesco Extra and Asda show up to work every day, people in Cumbernauld can still buy food. Supermarket and food shop workers, who obviously cannot work from home and have to continue commuting during lockdown, are also among those facing the greatest health risk, as they are in contact with thousands of people.
Their employers don’t always provide them with basic safety kit, such as gloves and masks. And in the last few weeks they have had to witness scenes of customers panic buying toilet paper and other essential items.
The effort to keep public areas clean has never been more important. Those who are operating as cleaners in shops, care homes, pharmacies, schools and outdoor spaces deserve real recognition for the millions of virus particles they have washed away at their own health risk.
Health care staff have been keen to highlight the important work of the many hospital cleaners who are working day and night to deep clean rooms where COVID-19 patients have been treated.
It should not go unnoticed either than many cleaners have worked for low pay before going on to be made redundant or put on furlough at this very challenging time.
The Cumbernauld CHaT (Community Help and Talk) Service has received contact from many local people offering to help with grocery deliveries, dog walking, prescription collection, transportation, food bank support, remote befriending and various other vital areas.
Furthermore, it is now known that hundreds of Cumbernauld citizens responded to Scottish Government’s call for coronavirus volunteers to sign-up through the Ready Scotland website to help others in need.
Individuals can volunteer to help a local charity or voluntary sector organisation in the fight against coronavirus by registering their details with Volunteer Scotland.
Coronavirus restrictions have seen online sales as a proportion of all retailing reach an all-time high in the UK in recent weeks. This has required more delivery workers to be recruited, with these individuals risking their health by knocking multitudes of doors every day.
Postal workers, Amazon delivery staff and individuals delivering weekly food parcels are amongst those who have kept Cumbernauld families supplied during lockdown. In many cases, people are doing such jobs without receiving Personal Protective Equipment from their employers.
A little-known unit in the Scottish Health and Social Care system has been tasked with transforming services across the NHS to make them more digital. Staff involved have been working all hours to support the NHS through the crisis as Scottish Government tells people to get up-to-date advice online, with more healthcare services than ever before being delivered digitally to relieve pressure on frontline doctors.
Cumbernauld citizens’ reliance on the Internet and digital means of communication is hugely significant at this time. In this respect, the skills and expertise of additional technical workers is required at present to keep the online world operating smoothly in the midst of high demand.
Neighbours and Community Activists
A quick scan of Facebook or Twitter tells us that people living in Cumbernauld have stepped up to look out for their neighbours in caring ways during coronavirus restrictions.
For example, Cumbernauld woman Emma Brown designed a print-at-home postcard template aimed at helping people in her street if they are self-isolating. The postcard offers neighbours a friendly phone call, to pick up shopping, post mail or get urgent supplies.
It is this kind of community spirit which Cornerstone House Centre hopes can continue as part of regular daily life once lockdown is lifted and the country returns to a greater state of normality.
Coronavirus Relief Donators
Despite the economical slump and rise in unemployment triggered by the coronavirus outbreak, the people of Cumbernauld have shown their generosity by donating in spades to several emergency and worthwhile causes.
Nationally, Comic Relief and BBC Children In Need, two high profile charities working to help people during the pandemic, collectively received public donations of more than £67millon following the television broadcast ‘The Big Night In’ on Thursday 23 April 2020. Incredibly, this equates to more than £1 donated per person living in the UK.
Public Transport Drivers
Bus, train and taxi drivers are amongst those still working in daily contact with members of the public during lockdown, risking their health to keep key workers and others requiring essential journeys on the move.
Without these drivers, public transport would grind to a halt and many would not have access to the healthcare, food, medicine, resources or childcare they need.
Pastors and Church Leaders
Church and religious leaders in Cumbernauld have responded in amazingly kind, caring and selfless ways to help vulnerable people during the coronavirus emergency.
As well as coordinating regular online worship services for parishioners, many pastors, ministers, priests and bishops have taken to delivering food parcels, shopping and other essential items to people in need, as well as checking on the physical and mental wellbeing of underprivileged individuals in the community. They have also continued to undertake necessary means such as funerals despite restricted and very difficult circumstances.
There are about 20 Christian churches in the town, including Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, Freedom City Church, Cumbernauld Abronhill Parish Church, Craighalbert Christian Fellowship and Cumbernauld Baptist Church, who are known to be facilitating activities above and beyond the call of duty in response to the situation.
Children in Cumbernauld are decking their neighbourhoods with messages of optimism. Rainbows with words such as ‘everything will be fine’, along with drawings, placards and sheets hanging on balconies, are spreading across the local area to provide hope during the crisis.
The innocence, joy and hope that shines through local children despite being forced out of their normal routine and not being able to see friends and family is something which can offer encouragement to us all.
Cumbernauld individuals and families requiring advice or assistance at this time can gain bespoke support by contacting the Cumbernauld CHaT Service on 07940 569527 (helpline is open every day from 9am to 9pm) or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.