Golding Homes has ensured its Community Chest Fund has been put to good use, supporting vulnerable residents after COVID-19 saw the closure of Maidstone’s Phoenix Club.
For the past seven years, the Maidstone Phoenix Club in Kent has been helping to support elderly and disabled people in the community, with regular day clubs at the Reculver Day Centre, but the COVID-19 lockdown meant day centres had to temporarily close.
For organiser and Golding Homes resident Graham Damms, this led him to think about new ways the club could help its members during the extended period of lockdown and isolation.
“We have always helped local people with food parcels and things, but during lockdown we saw a big increase in demand for this help with many vulnerable people shielding and unable to leave home,” explained Graham
“We knew people would also be feeling isolated, and so we decided to extend the food parcel service.
“We have a good relationship with Golding Homes as we use their hall as our day centre and they got in touch to check how we were doing and offer some support.
“They agreed to provide some money from their Community Chest Fund which we used for the food parcels, which so far has allowed us to deliver 395 food parcels during the lockdown period.”
Aside from the food parcels, Graham says a kind word or a chat from a safe distance also helped brighten people’s day.
He has been amazed at the reaction when making the deliveries, with people often in tears at the kindness and one person even telling him he was “an angel”.
Golding Homes community development advisor Sarah Leipnik said: “The Maidstone Phoenix Club is run by local people, for local people, and makes a really positive difference.
“We were keen to help them continue that support during lockdown and are delighted to provide the community chest funding for their food parcel service, which has proved so vital to elderly and vulnerable people who have been unable to leave their homes.”
Some of the community chest funding has also been earmarked to pay for a day trip for club members once they are able to get together again in person.
Image: Phoenix Club volunteers helping sort food parcels.