A husband and wife have leaped into action to strengthen their community and safeguard those most at risk from the coronavirus pandemic.
After watching the public health emergency unfold on television, Patrick Smith and his wife Julie decided to join the local council’s team of neighbourhood carers as volunteers and are now partly responsible for supporting customers at Market Close, in Bourton-on-the-Water.
The structural steel designer sent out a circular email once news of Britain’s essential lockdown became clear asking residents, most of whom are in their later years, whether they needed any food or essential items such as prescriptions.
“Our block is an independent living scheme, and although we have got a mix of ages, it is predominantly those in the older age bracket living here; our lovely next door neighbours are both in their 90s, for example,” the 61-year-old explained.
“Many residents are in the high-risk category, so my wife and I wanted to do anything we could to help keep the exposure of the majority of the block down to an absolute minimum.
“Our local supermarket is a Co-op, and Julie is a funeral director for Co-op Funeralcare, so we’ve actually been able to get residents discounts on their shopping which has been a bit of an added bonus.”
The former banker, who spent 18 years in the city of London, is continuing to work from his ground floor flat during the pandemic and is enjoying working alongside the housing association in other practical ways.
Patrick went on: “I’ve always found Bromford to be as proactive as they can be, but it can be difficult to get repair teams out at the drop of a hat, and more especially in the current health crisis.”
With his HND Building Services qualification, Patrick helps by completing basic repairs for residents whilst maintaining the government’s strict guidelines over social distancing.
“Bromford are doing their very best and, as I’m working from home, it has been quite easy for me to complete a few basic repairs, such as a separated waste pipe I fixed the other day while liaising closely with Helen our neighbourhood coach.
“The coronavirus situation is quite worrying, there’s no doubt about it.
“But we’re a real community here, and the response from people has been great,” he added.
Charlie Jackson, Bromford’s associate director of localities, said: “Throughout such unprecedented times we are hearing so many wonderful stories of communities pulling together and Patrick and Julie really typify what being a Bromford customer is all about.”