Call for Volunteers to run community phone bank to help most vulnerable during coronavirus crisis

Residents of Cambridge’s biggest ward are calling for volunteers to run a community phone bank as they pull together to help the most vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis.

Volunteer groups in Trumpington are working to make sure help will be on hand for people affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. This includes helping elderly or unwell residents and making sure everyone has access to food and vital support.

Trumpington is the largest council ward in Cambridge and includes some of the most deprived areas in the city.

Now, with many residents being confined to their homes or facing uncertainty during the coronavirus pandemic, a local volunteer group is calling for help setting up a volunteer phone bank to help coordinate the volunteers while also keeping people safe.

Trumpington resident Philippa Slatter said the new phone bank would help give people in need a place to call if they need help during the crisis, and will also help them to coordinate the efforts of other residents keen to help out their neighbours.

Ms Slatter said: “One of the new developments we are trying to get going is a volunteer phone bank. We don’t want people with the best of intentions putting things through the door that are going to make them possible targets.”

She added: “People can phone in if they want to offer help, and they can phone in if they need help, and volunteers will man that phone bank which means we don’t have to give out their personal phone numbers.”

Volunteers will also assist with the delivery of food and medicines to vulnerable people, and will offer other social help, including checking in by phone on people isolating and having a friendly chat.

Trumpington councillor Katie Thornburrow (Labour) said a new website has been set up to help people find information and will give them a way to reach out if they need help in the coming months.

Cllr Thornburrow said: “We have put together a Trumpington website which is trumpington.info, and it is a place to share information about things that are happening here and in and around Trumpington.

“It is shared information and can be a trusted source about how Trumpington is helping itself.”

Cllr Thornburrow said working together to help Trumpington will help give people focus.

She said: “There are a lot of good existing community groups, but a lot more networks are now being put together to try to help individual houses or streets or larger areas during this crisis.”

Barbara Ashwood (Lib Dem) represents Trumpington at Cambridgeshire County Council. She has been in self-isolation for two weeks already.

Cllr Ashwood welcomed the community spirit in Trumpington, and said she is confident local people will band together to get each other through the coming months.

She said the number of new housing developments in Trumpington means there may not be the same kind of established community networks seen in other, older, parts of Cambridge.

Despite this, she said, there is a definite “community spirit” in the area, with many new residents getting to know their neighbours and stepping up to help others in their community.

If you need help during the coronavirus outbreak, or would like to volunteer to help others, visit trumpington.info.

You can also contact local coordinators directly at trumpington.info/how-can-i-help

Katie Thornburrow, City Councillor email katie.thornburrow@cambridge.gov.uk phone: 07480 246939

Barbara Ashwood, County Councillor email: barbaraashwood@greenbee.net phone: 01223 842629

Andy Blackhust – Trumpington Residents Association email: chair@trumpingtonresidentsassociation.org

Philippa Slatter – Honorary City Councillor email: pmslatter1@gmail.com