The amazing impact a new charity had in a community in the pandemic
- Credit: Simon Clipsom
The founder of a group set up during the early stages of the pandemic to support vulnerable people in north Norfolk, has looked back on an "exhausting" year as the group moves forward to become a charity.
Cromer Cares, was set up in March 2020, as the country found itself in lockdown for the first time.
At the peak of demand during the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the group was supporting 1,600 households in Cromer and 19 surrounding villages.
Tim Adams, who set up the group said it was born of a realisation that people needed support. He said, "Really it was a realisation that we had to be better prepared to do something."
Mr Adams started taking action by putting messages out on social media asking what people needed and for support in helping and providing it. The messages were followed by a £10,000 grant from Cromer Town Council and the support of the council's clerk Julie Chance and deputy clerk Janet Warner.
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He said: "We were so lucky, mainly because we managed to recruit somewhere in the range of about 240 volunteers, who were on our list."
Mr Adams, who sits on Norfolk County Council and Cromer Town Council, said as the pandemic wore on the group became more efficient and set up processes and working relationships with partners in the town including GP practices, pharmacies and shops meaning the group is now run by a core team of 15 people.
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He said while the group had started out as a response to the situation created by the coronavirus pandemic it had evolved to also support people in the community dealing with addiction, needing social care support and more.
"Now we're looking to be a permanent fixture rather than something that was set up because of coronavirus and to offer support to people as a permanent charity.
"We've been so grateful to the support of residents and big retailers have been a huge support in the town," he said.
Looking forward to a new year Mr Adams said he was looking forward to Cromer Cares continuing its work and do “the best it to support the residents of Cromer and surrounding villages.”
"They've been marvellous"
Terry Keeler, 86 from Cromer , who started receiving support from Cromer Cares in March said Tim Adams, along with Cromer Town Council and its army of volunteers had been amazing.
He said the volunteers had provided vulnerable and isolated people in the town with food, prescriptions and enabled them to stick to the rules throughout lockdown.
Mr Keeler said: "It made an amazing, wonderful difference...it made it possible to take care of ourselves. If you needed anything you just to ring," he said.
Wynne Rendall, 103, who has received daily phone calls from Cromer Cares and support with prescriptions and shopping said the work of the group had been wonderful.
She said: "It's made a world of difference in my life. [The phone calls] are something to look forward to and I know that if I need help they would come straight away.
"They're a lovely, lovely team of people and we're very lucky to have them."