COVID-19 and Newtongrange Resilience
Any situation where we are told that if we can keep UK deaths under 20,000 we will have done well, is clearly not a good one. This is a tough time. Something about the scale of that number means that many families will be touched directly by loss, and if deaths can be prevented we should be doing everything we can. Here’s how we can respond locally and strengthen our COVID-19 and Newtongrange Resilience.
Some will be settling into routines, others very much still adjusting but all of us will require some stamina to get through the next few weeks or months. Emergency legislation brought in to manage COVID-19 has a two year limit, meaning that the best evidence to date indicates that this novel coronavirus is not expected to disappear anytime soon and could even remain another perennial threat like the flu, so we really do need to work together as a community with patience and calm.
Along with COVID-19 we’ve also seen a veritable plague of information and misinformation, and the Newtongrange Community Council has taken a cautious approach to disseminating guidance but concentrating on collating what we hope is really relevant locally.
So we’ve published our COVID-19 information and guidance for Newtongrange page for sources of assistance. We also introduce, to those who are not on Facebook, our Newtongrange Resilience Volunteers, many of who have been active in the community since the group was launched around the middle of March by delivering essentials to people in isolation, offering support to each other and sharing new issues and solutions. It has been a fantastic resource for helping the Community Council shape a response and maintaining our village spirit.
So what is the NCC response? We have 4 key areas:
- Support national guidance from the UK Gov and NHS
- Provide local information and guidance for Newtongrange
- Coordinate a volunteer service for those isolated and without immediate help including
- Medication delivery
- Pre paid grocery pick up and delivery
- Emergency supplies of essentials
- Dog walking
- Look for positive outcomes, things to keep our village motivated and working to our best advantage.
There is no question that the UK Government is providing an informed and measured response. Minimising risk to life successfully relies on following instructions and guidance together. The guidance FAQs are clear and I’d encourage everyone to review them. It is easy to be distracted by social and other media about how different countries have responded or the comparative severity and impact if the disease. This is not a time to second guess the response our country is taking with regard to our own particular circumstances and resources as its effectiveness relies on working together. We’ve noted confusion relating for example to whether you can go to work if you are in a non-critical service, if you can leave the house to help others and or why it is important not to travel unnecessarily. On the first, you can go to your work, even if non-critical, but only if you cannot work from home and so long as your employer has put satisfactory measures in place. Many types of business remain closed and you should check here. Travel, to say get a change of scene and take a walk in the countryside while adhering to all other rules, could mean an unnecessary accident for stretched services to deal with, so don’t do it. And if you are willing to help in the community, check you the government guidance on who should help and how you are of course allowed to travel to help the vulnerable. In our own guidance, we list ways of getting involved.
Information and Guidance for Newtongrange
Compiled on our COVID-19 information and guidance for Newtongrange page is everything the community, local and wider services have come back with over the past week that we think people will need. We are open to suggestions about how we should help or any guidance that should be included, please just email us.
The Newtongrange Resilience Volunteers (NRV)
The there are a number of volunteer groups working in Newtongrange. The resilience team are organised to bridge a gap between those already known to services and people who find themselves isolated with diminishing resources. This could be any of us over the coming weeks as challenges arise with delivery services and our own support networks, our neighbours, our friends or family, themselves may become isolated. How to access this help yourself or refer others is available on our COVID-19 information and guidance for Newtongrange page.
If you’d like to join the volunteers, please email us or find the Newtongrange Resilience facebook group.
So how can we stay positive?
There’s no denying good mental health and wellbeing is linked to good diet, having a purpose you value, exercise you enjoy and company you love. All four of these are under threat when you are confined at home. Between the NCC members and NRV recruits there have already been hundreds of activities and solutions to our newly restricted existence shared and trialled and we try and post the best we hear. Hundreds of children and families in the village have been starting their day with Jo Wickes or Cosmic Yoga. Technology is providing many new interesting options with apps like House Party, Board Game Arena and Netflix Party. If you feel your strength drifting, reach out to a friend or even organise a group chat (Facebook, Zoom, WhatsApp). If you don’t know how, get in contact with the NRV and we will talk you through it or just have a chat. Don’t forget, you can go out to get exercise, by yourself, with your household or with your neighbour’s dog if it will give them some respite (and you know it)! Take a turn around Welfare Park, it couldn’t be more aptly named for these times.
Remember, while you need to give others some physical space, whether in the park or in the Coop, it doesn’t mean you can’t smile or chat and use the opportunity to show some village spirit. Meanwhile we’ll keep posting links to village and local heritage on Facebook, and anything that we think might offer perspective. Once again it seems, it’s a time for a type of remembrance… remembering to value simple pleasures and our family, friends and community.