Since Pan Together’s trustees took the swift decision to close Downside Community Centre and the Isobel Cafe to help reduce all but essential contact on 17th March 2020 in the wake of the Coronavirus emergency, the charity has been supporting vulnerable and isolated people – predominantly within Pan, Pan Meadows and Barton in East Newport – with lifeline support services.
Locals helped in 2,238 different ways
In the 167 days from 18th March to 31st August 2020, local people have been helped in 2,238 different ways.
39 per cent of these assistances were in the months of July and August (despite a two-week closure during the weeks commencing 10th and 17th August) – indicating an on-going demand for the services which the charity is continuing since the community centre and cafe’s re-opening in Covid-19-secure ways on 1st September 2020.
Volunteers and staff at Pan Together have:
- since 5th May, prepared and delivered 1,114 no-cost hot meals to local children and young people in real need who weren’t in receipt of free school meals before the lockdown but whose families’ circumstances have changed dramatically since and have very limited other means of support;
- dished up 843 lunches for adults, delivered to their doors (which were halved in price to £2 per meal from 13th April);
- done 131 separate rounds of essential shopping;
- collected and delivered 90 prescriptions (many of which were on a multiple basis); and
- supported people on an individual basis in many other ways – including collections of ‘surplus’ government food packages from shielding people, weekly deliveries to Newport’s foodbank from mid-April to early August, assistance with rubbish-related issues and banking support.
As well as all of that, the charity’s data doesn’t include the multiple and wide-ranging discussions which have been initiated with officials and professionals in relation to certain particularly vulnerable people’s specific needs. For example, in terms of their deteriorating mental health, their declining physical well-being and/or the unsatisfactory nature of their living conditions – acting as advocates on their behalf.
Thomson: Making a real difference to local people
Rachel Thomson, Pan Together’s Community Centre Manager, said,
“It’s been a challenging but hugely rewarding time since we’re doing exactly what we’re here to do: making a real difference to local people – young, old and in all their diversity. Long may this amazing community spirit continue – funding permitting, of course.
“Without the help of our stalwart volunteers plus incredibly generous donations and successful grant applications, we simply couldn’t have done it – and we really do appreciate everyone’s support tremendously.”
Brodie: Sincere thanks to all staff and volunteers
Isle of Wight Councillor Geoff Brodie, who represents Newport East, said,
“This is precisely what Pan Together was set up to do back in 2007. As a community group we have matured and developed over the last six months in response to the crisis.
“We are now making tentative steps to opening up fully, whilst continuing our support services.
“My sincere thanks to Rachel and the staff and volunteers for their absolute commitment in recent months.”
News shared by Rachel on behalf of Pan Together. Ed
Image: Left to right, Robert Cooke (POA Learning learner) and Dave Logan (POA Learning’s Regional Centre Manager) back in action at Downside Community Centre every Friday from 4th September 2020