During the current outbreak of Covid-19 (coronavirus), we have taken a number of steps to protect the wellbeing of our patients and families, as well as staff and volunteers. Part of this meant that we had to press pause on our Community Support Volunteering project, run by Nikki Edwards, our Community Support Volunteering Manager.

Community Support Volunteers (CSV’s for short) usually visit and befriend patients in their own homes to reduce social isolation and loneliness, however they have done an excellent job in adapting their role during this time and are continuing to offer support by telephone, video calls and with unprecedented acts of kindness. For example, James sent a wedding anniversary to the couple he visits, Gill bought daffodils for her patient and left them on the doorstep, while Bill video called his patient and started to chronical his life for his grandchildren.

Jayne, a CSV, and Nannette during one of their last visits.

‘In these uncertain times, when everyone is adapting to new ways of doing things, it is stories like these that show the little things are actually the big things. I am so proud of all the CSV’s who have adapted their way of working to continue supporting our patients and their carers in the community.’ Nikki told us, ‘I do not like the idea that anyone feels lonely or isolated and if a telephone call can help alleviate that, even for a moment, then I will be content in the knowledge that we are making a difference and building even more compassionate communities.’

The CSV’s have also been researching community based services, detailed below, that can offer support to patients and those in need.

  1. Rodmill Post Office and shop (part of the parade of shops opposite the DGH) are offering a home delivery service.

  2. Tesco have stores in all of the towns in our catchment area and are opening Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9-10am for their elderly and vulnerable customers.

  3. Iceland, who have stores in Eastbourne, Langney and Hailsham, are allowing the elderly and vulnerable people to shop for the first hour of trading, Monday to Saturday. They are also temporarily limiting online orders to customers who are over state pension age, self-isolating and other vulnerable people, such as those who are disabled.

  4. Asda are opening for the elderly and vulnerable from 8-9am in Eastbourne and 6-9 am in Hailsham.

  5. Sainsbury's, who have stores in Eastbourne, Heathfield and Newhaven, are opening from 7-8am for the elderly and vulnerable. They are also offering a priority access to online delivery slots for those with a disability or who are over 70.

  6. Lime Cross Nursery in Herstmonceux is offering customers a telephone service to purchase plants etc., which they will then deliver. Their cafe is also offering a phone service and the food can be collected from their car park. They are also putting together vegetable boxes and essential groceries which can also be collected from their car park.

  7. Waitrose are now keeping the first hour of opening for the elderly, vulnerable and those caring for them. They have stores in Eastbourne, Heathfield and Uckfield.

  8. Cinnamon Trust will help with dog walking trips to the vet etc - this is a national organisation that sources local volunteers and has asked current volunteers, like Nikki, to say if they can do more to support individuals self-isolating care for their pets.

  9. Manor Park Surgery’s GP, Russel Brown, is posting live updates on specific topics such as social distancing, what to do if you’re on immunosuppressive drugs and social isolation in the near future.

  10. Best of Eastbourne & Best of Polegate; individuals are posting offers of help online.

  11. Helping the Elderly & Vulnerable during Coronavirus Outbreak has been set up by Nikki Brown in Hampden Park.

  12. Cook, Eastbourne are offering a delivery service of their ‘award winning frozen meals’ across Eastbourne and Polegate.

  13. Old Orchard Nursery, Burwash – The farm shop is offering delivery of food on a contactless basis. Contact Louise on 07969778985 for further information.

  14. Patisserie Valentin are providing bread deliveries. Call 01435 863487 for more information.

  15. The Wheel Inn, Burwash are delivering meals daily to the over 70 and those self-isolating. They can also deliver milk and bread. Contact Sam on 07566238120 for cost/further details.

  16. The Middle House, Mayfield can deliver their frozen meals. Contact 01435 872146 for further details.

  17. Pilio Café Bistro, Heathfield are offering take out food to collect Tuesday to Saturday. Call 01435 863376 for further info.

  18. Co-op, who have stores all across our catchment area, are offering priority shopping for vulnerable customers and those who care for them. Priority times are as follows: Monday-Friday 9-10am and Sunday 10-11am.

  19. The Pet Food Shop are offering a delivery service for your pet food needs. You can call them on 01435 864652.

  20. Heathfield Union Church and Kings Church have volunteers able to help in the North of our catchment area and have a list of local groups that they can signpost too for shopping services.

  1. Arts on Prescription are currently delivering their weekly art and creative sessions every Friday at 10am on Zoom. You can find them via the ‘Events’ section on their Facebook page.

  2. Additional restaurant and café home delivery services on our website - stwhospice.org/blog/delivering-to-the-community