Town rises to new challenges
In Louth church groups, community initiatives and local businesses are helping to ensure that vital support remains available throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
In a joint letter to the community published recently on the Louth Town Council website, Rev Nick Brown, Rector of Louth and Canon of Lincoln, and Cllr Fran Treanor, Mayor of Louth, described the challenges faced during the coronavirus crisis as “unprecedented” and ones which will “help to shape how we understand ourselves for years, decades and (perhaps) centuries to come”.
A number of local community groups and volunteers have been offering their services and giving up their time to the benefit of others in need, while also helping to ensure the survival of the town’s many small businesses. According to Rev Brown, Louth’s Coronavirus Pastoral Care Network has built on the work of the existing pastoral care team and is keeping in contact with people to try and make sure they receive the help that they need.
“The number of people needing help has grown over the past few weeks and we have been very fortunate that more people have stepped forward to help the work of this group,” he explains.
“We have found that people need practical help – particularly when in self-isolation – with the delivery of food and medication, and we have a group of people within the team who will help.
“While many of the local shops are making deliveries, we are delivering food from the Community Larder to people in need, and working with a local grocery store to make deliveries to those in the more isolated villages.
We have also teamed up with the Lincolnshire Co-op pharmacy in town to make deliveries to those who need it.
“All of this work builds on the existing work that the church does in the community – especially the pastoral team based at St James’ Church in the town centre, and the various community projects (including the Community Larder) that we run from Trinity Centre.
“Many of our projects have involved working with the local authorities, and these existing relationships have been an enormous help – especially the Wellbeing service at East Lindsey District Council. We are also registered with the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum, which is part of the county’s emergency planning response.”
The Pastoral Network, which aims to provide contact and assistance to those in need, especially those who are isolated and need help with food or medication deliveries, works in tandem with the Community Larder which exists to provide food to those who are in immediate need. Referrals come from statutory and voluntary agencies and during the coronavirus crisis also from Louth town councillors and church ministers.
The Community Larder, Louth’s foodbank, has been run on behalf of Churches Together in Louth and District for a number of years. Based at Trinity Centre and staffed by the Parish of Louth. Although figures are changing every day, Rev Brown says that during one week in April, the Community Larder provided food for 364 meals with the team of volunteers making medication deliveries to 25 people.
“There are nearly 200 people on our contact list who we are trying to keep in contact with to ensure that they are not in need of further help,” he explains.
“Many of these are fine at the moment, but we are ready to help if we are needed. Almost everyone’s lives have changed significantly over the past few weeks, and this dislocation and isolation have been challenging for many. We hope that by providing practical help we can help people – even if just a little – with the challenges we are all facing at this time. For us as a part of the church, it is a practical way of living out our commitment to help those in need.”
Rev Brown points out that the way people have responded with kindness and generosity is perhaps something that needs to be treasured.
“I think that the shock of the past few weeks has helped us realise our own fragility and vulnerability, and it is something to give thanks for that most people have responded by seeking to help others who they find to be in need.
“Louth is generally a close-knit community where people look out for each other, so this has just come into greater focus at a time of greater need.
“I think it reflects the fact that most people in our communities are ready to serve their neighbour at a time of need – something that is particularly significant to those of us who are part of the church, but which has a universal aspect for all.”
Pastoral Care Network contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, or tel: 01507 605803
Louth’s Community Larder contact: email@example.com tel: 01507 605803
Visit www.louthtowncouncil.gov.uk for advice, food delivery services, plus groups and organisations offering help.
PIE DAY GOES VIRTUAL
Even though participants couldn’t get together in real life on 15th April this year, Louth’s second Pie Day went online with people finding new ways of collaborating and having fun to keep the spirit of the day alive.
A handful of enthusiastic participants shared photos of their pies across Facebook and Twitter while Justine Whittern, PR for the event was interviewed by BBC Radio Lincolnshire. The day really hotted up when people cooked pies for their tea.
A new date will be released for Louth Pie Day once restrictions are lifted. www.LouthPieDay.com
PETS IN NEED
Twenty-one-year-old animal lover Meg Johnson, who owns and runs Potty About Pets in Mercer Row, is offering a free delivery service together with expert advice for pet owners in Louth and surrounding villages.
Potty About Pets caters for a wide variety of animals, including dogs, cats, cage birds, wild birds, small animals, and offers specialist diets for fish and reptiles.
“Our delivery service has definitely proved popular,” says Meg, who has a level 3 Extended Diploma in Animal Management and has cared for a variety of species since she was six. “It’s the safest way for people to get their regular pet supplies, but without unnecessary travel into town. Also for those who are self-isolating and in the high risk category, it puts their minds at rest that we can drop off their items without any contact.”
A key service which Potty About Pets also provides is pet care advice: “Our phone line and Facebook page are always available for people to contact us with queries,” explains Meg, who also rehabilitates wildlife.
“During these difficult times, wildlife is also suffering. Many birds are hungry. Less people means less food and particularly as the breeding season approaches and baby birds may become orphaned or injured.
“People can phone the shop for wildlife advice and we can still accept them and can discuss the best course of action.”
For more information contact Potty About Pets on tel: 01507 603621.
LOUTH ROTARY FUNDRAISING
Always keen to support the local community, Louth Rotary has made a number of urgent donations, including £600 to St Barnabas Louth Hospice and £2,000 to the Louth branch of the Boston Pilgrim School to purchase a laptop for each child.
“The Boston Pilgrim School educates children who, for medical reasons, can’t attend mainstream school,” explains Lesley Lewis. “This will enable the children to carry on with their school work at home.”
The club also purchased £1,000 of food vouchers from Aldi and donated them to the local food bank (£700) and the Women’s Refuge (£400) which includes £100 from the Louth Inner Wheel Club.
“We have received a further £400 from our Rotary District 1040 which will be donated to the food bank and have also set up a GoFundMe page,” says Lesley.
“This money will be donated to local services and charities to help them continue their work. All club members have been very responsive and generous – we are also very grateful to the local community and businesses for their support.”
For more information about Louth Rotary, tel: 01507 354288.