Care in the community by the community

An extraordinary wave of empathy and compassion has swept across the city, on the back of the coronavirus, delivering practical support for those in need; befriending the lonely and reassuring those anxious. Through the newly-formed Neighbourhood Care Networks, areas around the city – Stonehouse, The Hoe and Stoke – have taken help-in-the-community to a new level and have set up a rapid response team based around a single phone number, monitored at all times, for residents to call. More than a number, it provides individuals, particularly those who are vulnerable and in need, with a promise that they will be immediately heard and helped. POP+ is committed to doing everything it can to ensure that this determination to care for our communities extends beyond the period of the pandemic and brings about lasting, positive change that will be of benefit to us all.

Volunteers to the city-wide Good Neighbours Scheme are now being deployed, where possible, to their local Neighbourhood Care Network to help with among other things, shopping for food and prescriptions, dog-walking and befriending. The Hoe Neighbourhood Forum has dispensed more than two hundred face masks (all of which have been made by Debbie) and shared the pattern with those that wish to make their own; in Stoke, STARS are hosting lively community discussions via ‘zoom’ for residents to come together virtually; planters have been filled afresh with compost and summer plants and a pop-up advice centre is going to be run from the bench in the village! Meanwhile, in Stonehouse, the team that is Nudge has barely drawn breathe since the lockdown began: more than 1500 take-away cups of soup have been prepared, cooked and served at Union Corner by the wonderful group that is Dagma, Rachel, Martine and Tony; working with Borrow Don’t Buy, reconditioned devices are being delivered to residents to get them electronically connected; a free wi-fi connection has been established across ‘The Street’ and an open-air, socially-distanced street market is being planned for Sunday the 27th of June.

Whitleigh Big Local. Help line: 01752 875916

Nudge Community Builders, Stonehouse. Help line: 07723 494413

STARS (Stoke Traders & Residents Association). Help line: 07380 319128

The Hoe Neighbourhood Forum. Help line: 077235 77305

Keyham Neighbourhood Watch. Help line: 01752 563095 or 07780 711894

As news of the networks and their good works spreads, so other areas of the city are considering whether they too could provide a long-term solution to care in the community that will extend beyond the coronavirus.

Geographic areas currently working with POP+:

Devonport; North Stonehouse; Keyham and Efford; Hooe, Oreston & Plymstock; Plympton; Ernesettle; Mutley & Greenbank; Lipson

If you would like more information about the Neighbourhood Care Networks please contact