The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on our community is unprecedented. Wimbledon Guild is providing practical and emotional support to the most vulnerable in Merton. The charity has seen a huge increase in people needing help and it is currently supporting more people than ever before.
Wimbledon Guild is a local charity with the aims of reducing social isolation and loneliness, helping people through difficult times and enabling older people to be active and healthy. During the coronavirus pandemic the charity is supporting over 600 existing customers as well as providing assistance to over 400 vulnerable people in Merton who have been referred to the charity through the Covid-19 Community Response Helpline.
Wimbledon Guild has required additional volunteers to deal with the increase in demand. The charity has issued several asks for support from the local community and have received an outpouring of help in return. It now wants to say thank you to the people of Merton for their support.
Wendy Pridmore, CEO at Wimbledon Guild comments; “We have needed additional volunteers and funds to cope with the extra demand the outbreak has put on our services. The response has been greater than we could ever have hoped for and we are hugely grateful to local people for their support and generosity.
Every time we’ve put out a request for help, we’ve been overwhelmed by the positive response from our community. We wanted to take this opportunity to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has volunteered, donated, raised money for us or got involved in other ways.”
So far, over £30,000 has been donated to the Wimbledon Guild Covid-19 Relief Fund Appeal. The money is going towards delivering food, medicine and other essential supplies to those unable to leave their home and giving supermarket vouchers to those with no other source of funds.
The charity’s corporate partners have made financial donations and supplied volunteers to help support its work. Waitrose Wimbledon and Marks and Spencer have provided fresh produce for Wimbledon Guild to distribute to families most in need.
Pridmore continues; “During this time when our customers are unable to visit us, we’re taking Wimbledon Guild to them. By partnering with a local catering business, we’re able to cook nutritious meals for us to deliver to our HomeFood Café customers. Our army of dedicated staff and volunteers have been contacting every customer, many of whom have been advised by the Government not to leave the house, to make sure they have what they need and give them a connection to life outside their homes. Every day we’re inspired by our volunteers sharing their time and talents with us, and by the positivity and resilience of our customers.”
Volunteers have been telling Wimbledon Guild how good it feels to be making a difference and doing something useful during the outbreak. Directly seeing the impact of their acts of kindness on the lives of others is very rewarding.
Volunteers like Mark from Wimbledon, who helps Wimbledon Guild alongside his day job:
“I really enjoy volunteering. It’s a great chance to meet interesting people in the local community and hear some of their stories as well as making a real difference to their lives. During the current situation I feel it’s even more important to help out, and the work gives me a fantastic sense of doing something worthwhile.”
The charity has also been hearing from its customers on how they are keeping their spirits up.
Wimbledon Guild regulars Helen (89) and Laurie (91) shared their story in the hope of inspiring others during lockdown.
They are both regulars at Wimbledon Guild, with Helen usually visiting every day to take part in one of many scheduled activities.
During lockdown they’re making sure they keep physically fit thanks to activities set by one of the charity’s class instructors. “We both do weights and then incorporate some of Chris’ exercises from the usual Wednesday morning class!”
They’re also keeping mentally active with Brain Games sent to them from another of Wimbledon Guild’s instructors; “Thanks for the great Brain Games – up till now we have been doing online word games and Sudoku”.
Most importantly, the couple are staying positive and looking forward to better days ahead; “We’ll see you back at Wimbledon Guild when we’re able to!”
Wimbledon Guild wouldn’t be able to achieve what it has, and will continue to in future, without the kindness and generous help of local people. The charity says it’s heartening that in this time of crisis our community spirit is shining through.
Wendy Pridmore, CEO, leaves us with the comment that; “Life will return to normal, but a new normal – one where our sense of community and togetherness is stronger. Through it all Wimbledon Guild will continue to be here for Merton, as we have been for the past 111 years. Thank you.”