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Village Virus Support group brings community together

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Formed on the 16th March this year in response to the #COVID-19 situation, the Thruxton Village Virus support group has proven itself a lifeline to many.

In that time the group has managed to amass £2500 in fundraising to continue their work as well as receiving grants from Test Valley Borough Council and the Police and Crimes Commissioner. The funds have been used to arrange supplies for the vulnerable and elderly, teats and surprises for children, home safety items for the vulnerable and much, much more.

The volunteer groups primarly role is to ensure the vulnerable and self isolating villagers in the community are looked after and cared for, They have been collection prescriptions, transport to hosptial appointments as well as a weekly delivery service. They have formed relationships with local suppliers such as Kenyons, Tillydown Butchers and the local Londis at Weyhill ensuring those who need support are well catered for.

They also phone resdients on a regular basis to reassure them that they are not alone and that they are there to help in whatever way they can.

The other side of the groups aims is to give villagers a morale boost. They are well aware of the importance of good mental health and the wide range of ages within the village has meant they have come together as a community to provide support for each other. They have done initaitives such as competitions, quizzes, raffles, treasure hunts Easter and St Georges Day celebrations. Local resident Richard Earp made chalkboards which have been posted up through the village and people can write supportive messages on these for others as the go on their exercise.

They have a Facebook page on which they provide news, activites and special messages. They also host a live online broadcast at 6pm each evening on which they thank key workers, pay respect to those that have passed, inform residents of village activities and news and, in short, do all they can to boost morale. They have hosted special Live Broadcasts such as on Easter Sunday when residents Sue King and Cat Boslem delivered a very moving online service.

They have recognised the achievemnts of the wider community such as the NHS, key workers and in particular Col. Tom Moore for whom they held a special online service hosted by resident Martin King. The group held an online raffle and were able to use some of the proceeds to make a donation to the Col. Tom Moore’s fund for the NHS.

They also have a group of residents headed up by Kate Christie who have been making scrubs for the NHS, and other residents such as Debi Foynes who have made wonderful crafts for the children. Many residents have donated prizes, toys and books for the children and generally done all that they can to help others.

They have received incredible support and guidance from TVBC Cllrs Phil and Linda Lashbrook who have been fully supportive of all we are doing in the village. Last week they ran a Scarecrow competition and also deleivered afternoon tea to 60 vulnerable residents for VE Day. Roger Oliver baked 200 cones and other residents made sandwiches, cakes etc for the vulnerable and village children to enjoy.

The residents have been amazing throughout this crisis, none more so than the children of the village. Their enthusiasm, caring and funny nature and amazing talents have been an inspiration to all. For example last Saturday evening 12 year old Ollie Allwright hosted the online live broadcast where he demonstrated a fun maths game he had devised for his younger brothers Fred and Rory. Other children have baked cakes, painted stones for others to find, made wonderful cards and pictures and generally been an inspiration to the older generation.

They recognise that there is still a long way to go with the crisis and they are committed to ensuring that every resident is cared for and that they do all they can to boost morale.

Last year they won the Hampshire Small Village of the Year and truly believe that they will come out of this crisis with an even stronger community spirit.

We have learned new skills, formed new relationships, and have an incredible respect for all those key workers that do so much to keep our village and the wider community safe.

Richard Smart – Thruxton Virus Volunteers Group

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