Where has the community spirit gone

Have just reached the year anniversary of shielding in my home due to being Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. I have learnt a lot about my community in this time, most is not positive & very disappointing.
Very little abiding by the covid rules, they has been big gatherings, parties, mixed household visiting, little self distancing & virtually no mask wearing. Certainly no offering help to others that might be in need of help.The worst offenders seem to be the so called ‘do gooders’ who only seem to do the big showy events that attack attention but do little to help if it unseen on social media.
The real local hero’s are the food delivery drivers, milkman, postman & women, dustman, road sweepers, pharmacist & his delivery driver. All not local to my community but I thank you for all your help over the last year

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There seemed to be lots of helpful stuff going on that was talked about here during the first lockdown. But I haven’t heard anything similar during the second - or indeed during the gap between the two lockdowns, when I think a lot of people still shielded but got forgotten about.
I hope the help that was offered at first still carried on. I’ve been very lucky in that my husband never had to shield and I’ve managed to get most things I need online.
On the few occasions I have been out, it’s been scary how few people seem to care to follow the rules. The only saving grace lately has been that the schools have been closed, so we get fewer crowds on the pavement.

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Hi Kim

Have you had your vaccination? If not I hope you get it soon, I think you can call up if you have not had it.

Things are definitely different from the first lockdown, and no doubt there is less adherence to the rules than in the first few weeks of the first lockdown.

However, whilst there are groups and individuals who are not following the rules on occasion, or regularly, it’s important to know there is still lots of community action going on at present. One shining example will be all the volunteers helping at vaccination centres which are helping speed up the vaccination program. There remain many other people volunteering there time across a multitude of others areas like foodbanks etc.

I actually think mask wearing has gone up, though it of course if not mandatory outside.

Do you need help with shopping and \ or other deliveries? Are you in a whatsapp group that helped previously or have neighbours that can help? I believe the likes of Sainsbury’s still have priority for those in more critical groups. If you need help and state roughtly where you are, someone on here or elwhere may be able to help you.

The good news is that Covid infection numbers are dropping rapidly in Lewisham and elsewhere in the borough, which means that despite what you see in the press and when outside, there is a large hidden majority complying with the rules, especially where it counts indoors which is overiding the minority who don’t follow them (I guess also possibly helped by the vaccine rollout).

I sympathise greatly with 2 members of my immediate family in the same position, however there are reasons to be positive for us all now and in the coming months after a very tough 12 months or so.

Good luck.

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Hi Kim,

Assuming that you live in Lewisham, have you been in touch with Lewisham Local?

During the first lockdown, the council requisitioned some of its staff to form a team specially for those who were shielding. Those who needed help contacted Lewisham Local with their requirements. They then called volunteers who went out and fulfilled the requests.

I volunteered and ran errands, did shopping and topped up electricity cards among other things. There were lots of us - we were given prepaid cards, sent in copies of the receipts to the council and gave the originals to those who we were helping.

Sadly, I had to stop volunteering, as a family member is ill and we are now shielding. However, I am still on the Lewisham Local mailing list, so know that they are still running the scheme.

It was an incredible thing to have the chance to do - bringing cleaning materials to pensioners who couldn’t go out, cat food (but not “human” food) to others who were worried about their pets and topping up an electricity key on the hottest day of the year all stick in my mind.

There IS help available for you - I am so sorry that you were not aware that it is there.

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There is also Community Connections Lewisham that will (as the name suggests) connect you to your local community services that can help you with any health of wellbeing issues. Their phone number is 03300583464.

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I of course meant “health or wellbeing”. Cursed predictive text.

Thank you all for your very helpful & thoughtful messages.
My comments were more directed at my neighbourhood community & especially my neighbours behaviour. Being surrounded by neighbours having very noisy social gatherings, mixing households, friends visiting, no social distancing or mask wearing. I luckily have a small garden but find it difficult to use when there is everybody & anybody in the neighbouring gardens.
I agree that the first lockdown there was a lot of help out there & that some is still there but not published as much. It has been an education on which supermarket deliveries have kept up the self distancing, I have to say for me Sainsbury’s have been the worse with self distancing, wearing masks & gloves. I do worry for their drivers protection as they now deliver without bags even for the Extremely vulnerable & stand at no distance from the door while you have to take each individual piece of shopping from the containers. I have stopped using Sainsbury’s.

I am not elderly but had my first vaccination a few weeks ago as I was in group 4. My letter from the government advises I continue to shield till at least the end of March.

The volunteers at the vaccination centre were fantastic & I should have mentioned them in my first post. The ones standing outside in freezing temperatures were so cheerful & encouraging as for many of us it was the first time we had been outside our homes. The centre was very well organised & I thank them all for volunteering to help.

Once again thank you all for your helpful help & suggestions. l know the larger Forest Hill community are there to help when needed & I now have their contact details.

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