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Volunteers turn Melling pub into community hub to feed the elderly and vulnerable during Coronavirus lockdown


A group of volunteers is putting the 'family' into the community by providing meals for those isolated and in need of food and supplies during the Coronavirus lockdown.

It was just 2 weeks ago when Sue and Adam Franklin, landlords of the Horse and Jockey pub in Melling, Merseyside, came up with the idea of helping others after Sue was kept awake with worry about the elderly and vulnerable.

So she and Adam, a former military Chef used to cooking in times of crisis, didn't waste any time.

The landlords shut the pub doors 3 days before the Government ordered closures and began sanitizing the kitchen and revising health and safety procedures.

Then, alongside Adam's brother Dee Franklin who is also a Chef, they started prepping food for hot meals to deliver free of charge.

They were just in time. Melling borders Knowsley, the 2nd poorest borough in England, and people were already starting to struggle.

But there was one problem. Adam had been admitted to Hospital last summer and even lost 11 stones he was so ill. After being so close to death, the Franklin family made the decision that they would all lockdown early, remaining isolated themselves to protect Adam's health.

If they were to distribute meals, they needed help in the form of more volunteers. And they needed food donations.

The response was remarkable. A team of multi skilled volunteers was assembled from the community and they now hold nightly virtual meetings to co-ordinate the huge effort and crowd funding required to help those in need, utilizing the very latest in technology to organize orders.

More than 2,000 leaflets were delivered to homes across Melling, with social media posts targeted towards those in the Village alongside neighbouring Aintree, Kirkby and Maghull, and they have teamed up with taxi drivers, the Parish Council and local volunteer services to identify those most vulnerable.

Now the Melling Community Volunteers are crowd funding to buy ingredients for the project in bulk as demand is so high.

Sue said:- "The number of people needing us and the radius that our volunteer group covers are growing each day as Local Authorities do not have the systems in place or capacity to help. They now are phoning us asking to help people until they can. These people include Covid-19 sufferers and their families, isolated, vulnerable, ill and elderly people, people who have carers and home help and families that are destitute until universal credit comes through. We are using our own stock at the pub but are starting to run low."

Volunteers include Sheila and Carol, both in their 70's themselves and currently isolating, but using their time to ring round and provide a listening ear.

Sheila has also been writing letters of support, while wearing gloves and a mask, to be delivered with the food in the evenings.

Other volunteers include retired Police Officer Mike Rawling who helps with deliveries and Lynn Rigby who works for the Department of Work and Pensions.

Despite caring for her own mother, who is in her 90's, Lynn leaves care packages at the doors of the most vulnerable including medication and supplies.

BBC broadcaster and communications specialist Gemma Ray is also helping coordinate logistics and doing tasks from leaflet delivering to collecting donations of toilet rolls.

And they have helped so many people already, including:-

1 man who is recovering from a stroke had no support system in place. The volunteers took him hot meals, toilet paper, toiletries, cleaning products and basic food like pasta and tinned goods. He told them:- "You don't know what this means to me, I cannot thank you enough, I didn't know what I would do. You have brightened my day."

► Another recipient is a 74 year old widow who texted saying she had never asked for help in her life. She told volunteers she had been eating toast for each meal until her food arrived.

► A mum of 4 boys including 2 who are poorly couldn't get Calpol to help them. An appeal across the Village saw donations made and volunteers delivered this along with fruit, veg, milk and bread alongside the daily meals.

► Another family was struggling as the dad contracted Covid-19 and his 15 year old daughter was doing all the cooking. The 5 year old girl was showing signs of illness too. Volunteers took the pressure off with hot meals so the teenager can focus on her Schoolwork and dad can concentrate on getting better.

If anybody is able to donate goods, consider dropping any supplies off to the Jockey pub in a safe manner; or please donate to the crowd funder on:-

If anybody needs to request help for yourself or a vulnerable neighbour or family member, please get in touch in 1 of the following ways:-

Call:- 0151 7393601.
Text:- 07971 004494.

Home Care Sector sends SOS out for more staff in Southport

CRG Homecare is 1 of the UK's leading providers of domiciliary care, has revealed it plans to recruit more than 250 new care workers in a bid to meet the growing demand for its services, across the UK. The company, which provides support to individuals living within the comfort and security of their own homes, has seen a marked increase in the need for its services across Southport, amid the emerging COVID-19 crisis. As its service users, many of whom are elderly and classed as high risk individuals, rely on care workers to assist them in their day to day lives.

Much like the NHS, which is facing the crisis head on and calling on support from former Doctors and Nurses to aid those on the front lines, the care sector is also coming under increasing pressure to provide support for individuals who have been in self isolation for some time, following the Government's advice regarding those at risk. CRG Homecare aims to recruit more than 250 care workers over the next 3 months and is appealing to the general public to come forward; including those that may have unfortunately lost jobs due to the current crisis. CRG Homecare is on the lookout for people to join teams across Southport to help a variety of people with personal care, domestic support, respite care at home and general companionship. Applicants need not have any prior experience as full training and shadowing program will be given.

What your role will involve:-

Providing personal care:- washing, bathing, toileting.

Preparation of meals.

Light domestic duties.

Visits out into the community.


Full training and induction programme.

Free uniforms.

₤250 refer a friend scheme, (T&C apply)

How do I apply?

You will need to meet the following requirements:-

You must have the right to work in the UK.

Ability to work as part of a dedicated team.

To be responsible and able to work unsupervised.

Reliable and punctual.

For those interested in a role with CRG Homecare in Southport, visit the website and apply online. Applicants will need ID and Right to Work documentation available upon applying.

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