Stories from local Street Reps
Georgi Daluiso-King, Mill Rise
‘Lockdown has been tough for all of us in some way or another. In our world as full time frontline NHS workers and having two little people that needed home schooling, life certainly picked up a pace that we had to quickly adjust to. Strangely, volunteering to become street reps felt, yes another role to take on in already a bubbling time, yet it felt so right to reach out to our neighbours that were isolated and lonely with no one else to ask for help.
So the kids and I posted leaflets through the doors on our road... It felt as though we were posting a helping hand, an offering, an opportunity for a better day to come. We discussed how on the outside of the door it was a small thing for us to do, but it may offer a big support to those sitting on the other side. Helping our community in this way sewed seeds of connection, care and kindness which will now grow stronger within me and my children, and I hope within the community. Through these tough times, we need to listen hard to the small lessons that whisper to us all of the importance of hope and love.’
Phil Grabsky, Tongdean Lane
"I congratulate the Friends of Westdene Green on all their efforts. The future is local, community, kindness – all three of which they have demonstrated. It is the small acts of generosity that multiplied across villages, towns and cities will make a real difference to our ability to not only make it through this period of covid but actually to emerge stronger and better.
We live in what, at times, can be a very divided and divisive nation – and covid has the potential to accentuate that. So to see folk checking on their neighbours, doing their shopping, taking medical staff a little gift of beer and crisps, whatever it was, is encouraging. On the other hand, the danger was that this feeling would last only a few weeks and then we would all retreat in our cocoons, back to the old ways. Over the past few weeks perhaps people have started to ease off and become more self-centred once again. The best information by far on covid is from ‘MD’ every fortnight in Private Eye and, as he makes very clear, whatever your age or ethnicity, we are all at risk and really don’t want to catch this.
So thinking about our local community is important. I was a bit surprised how few people took up the offer of help after we posted out the leaflets – at least as far as I can tell in my area – but at least they knew help was there if required. This is not over – don’t rely on someone else to be kind and considerate. Let’s all act like that."
Jocelyn Owen, Redhill Drive
I got involved with Friends of Westdene Green’s Street-by-Street Support when I read the letter which popped through my door a few weeks’ ago. I don’t do much for the community, but felt this was a really worthwhile initiative and I was keen to get involved. We have a great team of Street Reps already on Redhill Drive, and there was no coverage on two nearby streets, Gableson Avenue and Whitethorn Drive, so I offered my services! My son, Jacob and I delivered nearly 50 letters to these two roads offering support and also asking whether anyone wanted to become a Street Rep themselves! As a result, I found out that Gableson Avenue already have their own support group set up which is brilliant news and I’ve not, as yet, had any requests from support from Whitethorn – but folk know where I am if they need any help.
My fellow Street reps in Redhill Drive now number 7 and we have a WhatsApp group which allows us to report back all our activities and also to discuss any issues which arise. Some of the reps have been shopping for elderly neighbours, including a lady with dementia, and one street rep is having regular social phone calls with a lady who lives alone. So we’re hopefully making this challenging time a bit less challenging for our neighbours.
Charlotte Hastings, Windmill Drive
Being able to get involved with my friends and neighbours on this Street to Street Support network, has helped me come to terms with the huge challenges lock down brings. Being able to team up with neighbours, and think about the different needs of people in our community, how we can all work together, has been a huge help to me over this past month. There are always silver linings and feeling closer to my community, the opportunity to feel useful, and share support, is a very real, very bright, strong silver lining. One that I can already see stretching into the future as enforced isolation reminds us just how vital we are to one another.
"As I have autoimmune disease I had a letter from the NHS a few days ago to say that I cant go out. Although I'm not going to be stopped from walking! I reached out to my Street Reps and Maria really kindly went to get my shopping. Thank you for all you do for The Barn and the local community! It's much appreciated"