Added on: 4th April, 2020 by O1
Orpington has a strong sense of place and at its heart is a vibrant and engaged community; a community which now finds itself facing one of its greatest ever challenges. The challenge, though, is being met with a tremendous spirit of support, collaboration and resilience.
Orpingtonians were quick to respond to the challenges Coronavirus (Covid-19) has presented, forming the Orpington Covid-19 Mutual Aid Group (OCMA) - a group of local volunteers working together to offer support to those affected by Covid-19, particularly the most vulnerable, which has now received funding from the town centre’s business community, Orpington 1st BID.
Orpington 1st Executive Director, Sharon Baldwin, said “The Orpington 1st Business Improvement District has always taken its role in connecting with residents and forging strong links with the wider community very seriously, and never has that been more critical than today. We are therefore very proud to support the Orpington Covid-19 mutual aid group.”
The OCMA Facebook Group has already amassed well over 1,000 members. 200 people have registered as volunteers. Liz Hulse, who has led the development of the group and manages the work, explains a little more.
“We have organised Orpington on a wards basis; each ward has a co-ordinator responsible for the volunteers in their area, who are background checked in line with the current government guidelines for Covid support groups. Volunteers are currently leafleting their streets with details of how to request help via our phone, messaging, email and Facebook. The requests come to an area number, they are logged, and issued to available supporters by the co-ordinator. The nature of the request determines who, and how the support is provided.”
The Orpington Mutual Aid Group are collaborating with other local Covid mutual aid groups, The Bromley Homeless Shelter and the local Food bank, to support them with donations and volunteers but predominantly by delivering parcels to those in isolation.
Liz said, “We’re really grateful to Orpington 1st for the financial support. The funding has enabled us to react swiftly and is really key to our delivery of practical support so a huge thank you to the business community.”
In addition to this collective action, several businesses have also carried out indivudal acts of kindness, including Crispy Cod and Chandni Indian Cuisine donating meals to local NHS workers, Oriental Food and Sun Moon Lake offering face masks for volunteers and Metro Bank providing 2 members of staff to the OCMA.
If you can offer support for a member of the community please let OCMA know HERE. All volunteers must be registered for safeguarding.
If you need support for yourself, or for a family/friend/neighbour please fill in the form HERE.