It’s Volunteers' Week and each day one of our amazing volunteers will share their experience of volunteering with Nunhead Knocks. Laura Spilsbury, a Fund Project Manager and resident of Peckham, has been doing a weekly shop for an elderly resident who lives close by. Below she explains why it’s important and how the community has really come together.
I’ve lived in Peckham for over two and half years and bought a flat about eighteen months ago. I love the area and the estate that I live on, there is just such a community feel. It’s the first place I’ve lived in London where I’m friends with my neighbours. And Nunhead is the same, it’s the community that brings people together. It didn’t surprise me at all that Nunhead Knocks was set up so quickly, the way they’ve adapted to the situation and supported the community is remarkable.
When the coronavirus started I remember getting a Nunhead Knocks leaflet through the door. I got in contact with the team straight away but didn’t hear back for a while. One day I got a phone call from someone asking if I wanted to be a zone coordinator, but I was and still am working full-time so didn’t feel I’d be able to fully commit to the role. I got another call a few days later asking if I wanted to help an elderly gentleman with his weekly shop and I said yes.
Once a week and usually on a Saturday, I’ll collect his handwritten list, which includes the same items most weeks. As he’d been isolating for a while, initially he wasn’t aware of the lack of availability of items in the shops and I think he found it quite frustrating. There’s always a mango chicken salad on the list, but I haven’t been able to get it yet! I go to a few different shops for the items and also get his gas and electric card as well as his phone credit. I enjoy it, it’s only a couple of hours out of my weekend and I like being able to help.
I’m also part of the Whatsapp group for my zone. A question or request will be posted if someone needs support and seeing the volume of responses is remarkable, people are desperate to help people they don’t even know. Coronavirus is something that has affected everyone but here, people are so keen to lend a hand.
Like everyone else, it’s been challenging not being able to see my family or friends. I’m not from London and it feels like my family is so far away, especially because I don’t know when I’ll be able to see them. That’s why it’s been so good to get involved, it feels like you’re doing something tangible and it helps to get your head around everything that’s going on.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen but my hope is that the NHS is protected for years to come. I hope that the community feel is kept alive. Living in London people go about their daily lives without getting to know their neighbours but Nunhead Knocks has shown that we aren’t as disconnected as we think. It’s made people think a lot closer to home and I hope that continues.
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