Southend-on-Sea Borough Council would like to thank the vital community groups, centres and those who have gone out of their way to be good neighbours over the last six months.
Many of these great stories would go unheard so we have launched the Good Neighbours scheme where people can share their experiences, learn from each other and continue to encourage those who would like to help others, to raise their hands and get involved. Individuals and groups have come together to help those in need, and support people who need a friendly voice at the end of the phone, a bit of shopping done, their dogs walked and many other seemingly small but hugely impactful activities.
Some of these groups have added their stories to the new Your say Southend website, where there is a section for anyone to add their Good Neighbours story.
Shoeburyness HUB151 is one of the Southend community groups and organisations that not only stayed open during the height of the lockdown, but that actively ramped up their work in supporting the community around it.
Carolyn Warner, who runs the group said, “Having set up a site called ‘Sew 4 Community’ a team of expert sewers were drafted in, all voluntarily donating their time to make scrubs and uniforms for hospital staff. A box was placed outside the hub and scrubs were donated to the point that it was regularly overflowing. Material was donated via social media, and all scrubs were delivered to hospitals and care homes.”
Individual good neighbours have been celebrated with those they have helped telling their stories on the website. From people who got neighbours to celebrate VE day at a safe distance and as a result created a very local community that may never have previously spoken to each other, to those who created WhatsApp groups to make sure anyone who needed help when isolating, had someone to call upon.
Councillor Ian Gilbert, leader of the council said: “Recent months have been desperately hard for all of us, and devastating for many. The kindness shown by community groups and individuals is a great reminder of the neighbourly spirit that flows through this borough and I am grateful to everyone who has helped others, no matter how big or small the tasks that were carried out.
“We as a council worked day and night getting our helpline set up and delivering food and medicines to those that needed it, but without these community groups and individuals helping each other out, our borough would be a very different place. I’m proud to be a part of Southend, and am proud to see those from Shoebury, all the way through to Eastwood, Leigh and central Southend, building new relationships and helping each other out.”
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council would like to offer the opportunity for any other groups to add their stories to our Good Neighbours website.