Kibworth Isolation Relief Team

Kibworth Isolation Relief Team Case Study

Written by a volunteer

The group came about when one of our admins, Amber, put out a post on Facebook on 14th March 2020 offering to get shopping for anyone locally who was unable to get out and shop for themselves. Anne-Marie stepped forward and joined forces with her. They felt they needed help and so Emma joined them and they started to deliver some leaflets offering assistance to those who needed it. The three were then joined by first Sue and then Susan and a zoom meeting was held to make plans, especially around setting up a helpline and setting up a system to work with Lloyds pharmacy. The rest, as they say, is history...

We have a team of volunteers who are each assigned to a particular road or group of houses. They are the named volunteer for that road. The volunteers are grouped together in Facebook messenger groups with a few other volunteers who are covering the adjoining roads. The groups are a forum for sharing difficulties and for finding an alternative volunteer if they are unable to service a particular request for help. Each messenger group is headed by one of the 5 admins for Kibworth Isolation Relief Team (KIRT).  

All local residents have been made aware of their allocated volunteer’s name and phone number as this has been included in the information leaflets delivered to them. In addition to this we have a helpline which is manned 24/7 to cover any requests from people who have lost or not read their leaflets.

The local CoOp, Lloyds chemist etc. also have this number. All this information is also attached to our Facebook page, which is also another way to contact us.  

Requests for help are generally for prescription collection or for shopping. The 5 admin of the group are in constant touch with each other via a separate Facebook messenger group. This is for planning, problem solving, mutual help and support.  

Any requests for support which appear to involve a person with complex needs or with whom there are other complicating factors are allocated a volunteer from within the admin group. This is so that we can be sure that any support required which is beyond our remit can be identified and referred to an appropriate organisation to assess.

The volunteers carry out practical errands for those who request it. Whilst these are generally requests for shopping or for prescription collection, some villagers also really enjoy and benefit from the social interaction with their trusted volunteer.

The group has supported the community by providing a lifeline for those who are isolated and unable to get out. We have also worked closely with local shops and organisations to our mutual benefit.

We provided locally made face masks for all volunteers. Some volunteers have started to find it more difficult to find enough time to volunteer since returning to work. Alternative arrangements have been made for them to withdraw and they have been supported in their decision and thanked for all their hard work.

Whilst there are people in Kibworth and Smeeton who are isolated and unable to get out we see ourselves continuing to meet that need. Fewer people will be able to volunteer but fewer people may need help. We have the organisational structure to resolve this and to evolve as required.  We would try to keep the group operational even if on a minimal level until such time as the threat of a second surge of cases has passed.

Whilst most of the work our volunteers have undertaken has been straight forward, there have been one or two people we have felt have needs a little more complex than we have been able to take on alone. We have therefore liaised, with that village resident's permission, with other agencies such as Harborough District Council or Leicestershire County Council to ensure that their needs can be met.