Thank you to Eyemouth Response Team’s amazing volunteers
Dedicated volunteers working for the Eyemouth Response Team (ERT) have been thanked for their outstanding efforts during the worst of the pandemic.
The Eyemouth team was one of several across the Borders to set up a hub to support those impacted most by the Coronavirus pandemic, such as people forced to spend weeks at home shielding to protect themselves.
Jemma Landels, coordinator of ERT, was handed responsibility for the Eyemouth Hub by the community council.
She said: “I am so proud to work alongside such an incredible bunch.”
With shielding now suspended, and other restrictions being eased, the hub is winding down and this Monday (August 10) will be its last day of delivering frozen meals and free food packs.
The team will still be on hand to help anyone struggling to cope with the “new normal”.
And it will also be ready to be called upon if a local or national lockdown occurs.
As the hub winds down, Jemma has been looking back at the amazing work carried out by the community in what has been the busiest time ever for ERT.
It was on April 9 that Jemma took on the running of the hub.
“There was no real time to think of the enormity and importance of our roles ahead of us,” she said.
“The team got straight to it, with a lot of help from the community. It was phenomenonal. Everyone rolled up their sleeves and offered their services.
“ERT had never taken on so many new volunteers in a very short space of time. Thankfully, Susie Hopewell, from SPLASH, was on board to offer advice and also support for the volunteers.”
The team worked five days a week, sometimes six. Every volunteer gave up as much free time as they had available.
Many volunteers were business owners whose businesses had closed due to Covid-19. There were volunteers who were still working. There were many youth volunteers who took active main roles with in the team.
Jemma continued: “In our team we had teachers, doctors, Scottish Gas engineer, beauticians, florists, shop owners, Rotarians, Berwickshire Housing Association staff, students, paramedic, nurses, care workers, chefs, ninisters, Scottish Fire & Rescue service personnel and many retired professionals.
“We are so very thankful to all the businesses, organisations, charities and groups who have helped us along the way.”
The hub has been situated in Eyemouth Community Centre, thanks to LIVE Borders. It has been the ideal location, allowing the teams to work in pairs in separate rooms.
Eyemouth Fundraisers helped out with the banking and accounts.
Jemma said: “I don’t think we could have imagined back in April that the task would be so big and go on for so long. Our policy has remained the same all the way through, though, to support the community and help them get through these extremely difficult times.
“For some it was due to financial difficulties, some it was the enormity of it all and struggling with their mental health.
“The majority was due to sheilding. Something we are extremely proud of is their determination to keep safe and stay at home. They are the true heroes.”
Throughout the process, Jemma has kept accurate records of the team’s work. From April 9 to July 31, she revealed the hub had:
• 250 clients on its books;
• 440 shopping lists;
• Collected & delivered 130 perscriptions;
• Handed out 850 free food parcels
• Sent out 1677 frozen food parcels (including packs for Eyemouth Food Bank).
Jemma said: “The free food parcels came from food collected from supermarkets, that would other wise be put to land fill. We also had incredible support from Fare Share and Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber.
“This support allowed us to make thousands of meals – the kitchen team made just over 12,000 frozen meals!
“We had 70 volunteers in this time frame, with just over 3000 hours volunteer time in total. This is an incredible amount.
“I am so incredibly proud of each volunteer and the time they have committed to provide much-needed care and to ensure the safety of Eyemouth residents.
“I had no idea back in April that the task was going to be so big.
“Eyemouth Response Team is used to deploying water barriers or organising First Aid training in the schools and community.
“This has been a whole new task for us. Everyone has stepped up and worked so very hard. I am so proud to work along such an incredible bunch.”