Who would have thought that last year, when we were planning our holidays and parties for this year, we would be in lockdown without being able to see friends or families?
It has been a bad year for people all over the world, as we see families not being able to visit each other and those whose health is at risk of not being able to leave their homes.
Back in March when everything became scary, one person, Kirstie Sutton, who works in A&E at Musgrove Park Hospital, saw what was happening and knew what a huge impact this will be on everyone’s lives, she knew there would be no escape for people, whether young, old, rich or poor.
She thought about how the hospital and other professional bodies would struggle and decided to set up a page for the community to help the community, the Coronavirus Community Help Bridgwater Facebook group was set up.
We asked her how she felt seeing the numbers go crazy within the group and she told us,
“I couldn’t believe it quite frankly; I had purposely put it on one of the busier groups, but I thought I would be lucky if I had a few interested and maybe I would get 10 friends to join.
“I was wrong, within days we had over 1000 members and it was at that point I knew I would need help to run the page.”
“I spoke to Dan, who was a friend and neighbour who came on board, then other people were recommended.
“I had set up the group on the Sunday and by the Wednesday, we had a meeting with the Town Council, Somerset County Council, the Village Agents and we also had some councillors attend, all discussing how to use the Facebook page as a platform to help people, which is what I wanted to do for the community.”
When asked if she found them to be a big help, she answered,
“Hugely, we worked well in tandem, especially the village agents, who we work very closely with. We wanted to identify those that come to the group that needed help, whether it be for support or needing food. We would refer them to the Village Agents a lot.
“I would like to also say that the Council have been very supportive, we are constantly in communication with them.”
We asked Kirsty about where she sees the group as we move out of lockdown, she told us,
“Last week we made the decision to change the group name, dropping the word Coronavirus, to become Community Help Bridgwater, turning it back to what we hope for the future, to be a community page.
“Again, it is for the people of Bridgwater to help the people of Bridgwater, whether you want to come into the group to ask for help, such as shopping or you can’t get out in your garden to mow the lawn, or whether you are able to offer help.
“We are still there to do all those things, post-Corona, it is just a case of people helping people where they can. It is not just about post-Corona, it is your page, a page for the community.”
She went on to say,
“If you are a community group wanting to advertise your event or you are a group looking for volunteers, this is a good place for you to come to.”
Kirsty had one last message to you,
“Please if you need help, then come in and ask, we cannot guarantee that someone will step forward, but it is a platform for you to start. If it is something you are worried about and don’t want to say on the group, there are four admins available to speak to you, so please do not be afraid to ask one of us, we will try to get you the help you need or refer you to someone who can help.”
With 3.5K members, the group is still growing, there has been a lot of people who have been helped both during the lockdown and now as we come out of lockdown.
You can find the Facebook group by clicking this link:
We would like to thank Kirstie and everybody in the group for all their help at this most scary and stressful time.
Please, if you need help, then join and ask