Canon Simon Butler, Vicar of St Mary’s Battersea (and a trustee of KLS), is writing a weekly e-news to the Coronavirus Angels volunteers. As we’re partner in this new venture we thought we should reproduce it here as it’s full of interesting and relevant stuff!
Welcome to Week 4 of Coronavirus Angels.
As of today, 15th April, we have helped 145 families or individuals in particular need during the pandemic, and have managed to recruit a wonderful team of exactly 350 volunteers. Thank you to everyone who has already taken on a task for someone locally – we have been touched by the way in which you have all responded with such willingness. And it’s making a difference: one person writes, “please pass on my heartfelt thanks to the man who delivered my mum’s medication just now. I was worried about how I’d get them to her in time. It’s a simple act but I really am deeply grateful and so is my mum.” There are many such responses of gratitude.
We are extremely grateful to those – still the majority of our volunteers – who have yet to be called on to help. We haven’t forgotten you and we hope to connect many of you with people in need in the coming weeks – this is a long-haul response. There are also a number of other ways in which you can help included in this newsletter. Please do take the opportunity if it works for you.
We are doing a good amount of signposting to other services, because many of the people we are helping have multiple needs. So, to give one example, the clergy at St Mary’s Church are now registered as people who can issue vouchers for Wandsworth Foodbank. This is a really useful way of putting people in touch with the best source of food supplies in the area. Wandsworth Foodbank is one of the few remaining open in London and are delivering to local people. We are learning what we can do and what we can’t. People with health concerns are directed to NHS 111, people with benefit problems to Citizens Advice or the Council Community Hub, people with debt to Stepping Stones, to one of the Mutual Aid groups where the person lives beyond the approximate borders of Battersea.
Befriending Training & Resilience
Just a reminder of the Zoom Taster session on befriending which is taking place on Thursday 16th at 10.30am – here is the zoom link ; Meeting ID: 726 789 916 Password: 950595. This is a chance to explore what it means to be a befriender (and what it doesn’t) and to ask any questions you might like to have answered. There will then be a proper training session on Monday 20th April at 11am for anyone who would like to take on this role, which we all know will become increasingly important as the weeks tick by. The Zoom link for the Monday session is Meeting ID: 868 681 780 Password: 288562
There is an important distinction between befriending and offering the sort of support that can come from professional training. If you know anyone who needs to be helped with personal resilience or to talk through emotional and psychological challenges, we encourage you to contact Peggy at Living Truth (07908276546), who have a strong team of qualified people who can assist and are offering support free of charge during this period.
So far the people answering the phone and matching up volunteers has been a team of six (Annabel from KLS, Sara from The Battersea Society, David from Sacred Heart, Aaron K, David and myself from St Mary’s). We take it in turns – one answering the phone and entering tasks on the database, the other allocating volunteers and matching them with tasks by liaising with the people involved. It’s not an overwhelming role, but when you’re on duty and it’s busy, it’s hard to concentrate on other things you might have to do. What we would love to do is to have a few more people (perhaps between 4 and 6), who have a DBS, who can join a rota to spread the work. Basically it means being on duty (with phone or coordinating) once every five days or so (including weekends). If you can help with this, or might like to talk it through, please give me a call on 07941 552407.
We would like to leaflet the Surrey Lane Estate a second time in the coming few days. If you can help with this,please email David ([email protected])
We have a Twitter account @AngelsBattersea, a Facebook page at Coronavirus Angels Battersea and an Instagram page at @batterseacoronavirusangel. Please follow us and like the pages, and also send any content and photos to David ([email protected]).
Almost every charity which is sprung up around the COVID-19 pandemic has faced the challenge of people in need with no money. We think we have two possible solutions to this, one which involves using the card payment machine at St Mary’s Church (which is a bit complicated) and the other by offering a quick method of reimbursing a volunteer who buys shopping for someone in such a situation. Please do not do this unless you have agreed it with the coordinator on duty (who will know if we have helped someone in this way already) but, if you are asked to do so and are happy to pay and then claim back the cost, please send a photo of the receipt together with bank details for repayment to [email protected]. We will then get the team at Katherine Low Settlement to pay you back swiftly.
Digital Exclusion – Power to Connect
A local grant making organisation is about to launch a programme called Power to Connect in Battersea and will be looking to recycle out of use laptops to people who are finding themselves digitally-excluded. Details are not yet announced, but do contact us if you can help in this way and we will put you in touch with the right people.
Kambala Residents’ Association
This very local group is providing food to people who live on the Kambala Estate just south of York Road/Falcon Road junction. If you can offer food supplies or other essentials, please contact Donna on 07856 076754.
We will soon have a supply of hand-made masks courtesy of @peoples_masks – a group of people from the Central St Martin’s School of Art & Design – here is a link to their instagram page , if you or a person you help might value a mask to assist them in their work, we will let you know when they arrive. A lovely gesture.
Lots of news then. Huge thanks to everyone. Together – good neighbours of all faiths and none – we are making a real difference.
Canon Simon Butler
Vicar of St Mary’s Battersea
Prolocutor of the Lower House of the Convocation of Canterbury
Member of the Archbishops’ Council
If you need a bit of help from the Angels then do call us on 07394 856 557 and email [email protected]