Our very own Helen Braithwaite and Pauline Hayward have been recognised for their contributions to community life in Kenilworth with Awards of Merit presented by the mayor.
“Since March 2020 Helen Braithwaite has organised the ‘Pharmie Army’ of volunteers, which has delivered more than 7,500 prescriptions to local people who were unable to collect them from their local pharmacy because they were shielding.”
“Pauline Hayward has coordinated the charity’s helpline which has received more than 33,000 calls in the past year, as well as organising the delivery of more than 4,000 meals to isolating residents.”
We are very proud of Helen and Pauline and truly thankful for all their continuous hardwork within the charity. The recognition is well deserved.
“We’ve received the award, but recognise we couldn’t have done what we’ve done without the help and dedicated support of our teams and town volunteers who have helped, however much or little, over the last year.”
Tell us about your role within the COVID 19 Support group? I work handling emails and voicemails from residents and in the early days helped us get our phone system working correctly. I work about 2 days each week with the Covid Group. I was lucky enough to retire in March 2020 and so I have a lot of flexibility around when and what I do. I always planned to do some form of voluntary work and I also work with Age UK as a befriender. The volunteering fits nicely around my other hobbies – painting, birdwatching, playing the guitar, family history, walking and running. We are lucky in that having several experienced volunteers allows a lot of flexibility so if I cannot work on particular days someone else can cover for me.
You have recently started painting again after a hiatus of several decades, can you tell us a bitabout your painting? I loved drawing and painting when I was a teenager and at one stage, I wondered whether to do something around it for a job. Instead, I had a career in sales, customer service and project planning roles but I always wanted to return to art at some stage. As soon as I retired, I signed up for a watercolour class at the Kenilworth Centre which really helped me get my technique sorted out. Since then, I have painted roughly one picture each week – it is a great inexpensive hobby for lockdown. My passion is birds and so I paint nature subjects quite a lot.
Tell us about the painting that was displayed in a local exhibit and you sold prints of it to raise money for the COVID 19 group. I regularly walk through The Common and along Lower Ladyes Hills and The Close and the allotments there are a wonderful oasis. It inspired me to paint a view across the allotments which I posted online on Kenilworth Vibes. I got a tremendous response and quite a few people asking whether prints were for sale. The painting really struck a chord, and I had a lot of conversations with residents, former residents, allotment holders with fond memories. I think people recognise a real ‘Kenilworth view’ rather than the picture-postcard Castle views and it captured a lovely sunny Autumn day of everyday life when we were all feeling a little trapped with Covid. With a lot of help from local artists I managed to get some high-quality prints made and I raised just under £400 for the Covid-19 Kenilworth Support Group selling 25 prints so far. I gave the original painting to the Mayor’s Charity fund. What I like about it is I have had so many lovely stories from Kenilworth current and former residents who are surprised that I paint their streets and houses. It is a great chance to meet people.
What are your hopes for the next 12 months, both personally and for the community?
I have been really surprised at just how much need and support we have on our doorsteps in Kenilworth – loneliness, mental health issues, poverty. I live in a lovely part of town where I know all my neighbours and I would like to feel that the same neighbourliness which Covid-19 has necessitated could continue. I know the group has plans going forward. Personally, the only thing I have not been able to do since retiring is to travel. My wife and I intended to have an extended trip to Australia visiting family last March which had to be cancelled. I really hope we can make the trip in the next year. I want to get better technique as an artist through lots of practise and be more creative in how I approach each painting. I plan to start a long walking project on the South West Coastal path and finally I want to see 200 species of bird in Britain in 2021. Finally, I have never seen a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker so if anyone can point me in the right direction anywhere near Kenilworth, I would be very grateful.
Beware Scams Associated with the Government’s New NHS test and trace service. (PLEASE SHARE)
The Government’s new NHS test and trace service is designed to trace people who might have come in to contact with someone who has coronavirus and help prevent the spread of the disease. Advice has been issued on how to spot fraudsters who may try to use NHS test and trace to steal personal and financial information and perpetrate scams.
If you test positive for coronavirus, the NHS test and trace service will send you a text or email alert or call you with instructions of how to share details of people with whom you have had close, recent contact and places you have visited.
The NHS test and trace service will also contact you if have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Again, the alert will usually come by text, email or phone call.
Fraudsters may make telephone calls falsely claiming to be NHS test and trace staff or send bogus texts or emails.
– If it’s really NHS test and trace calling you it will be from their single number 0300 0135 000, although scammers are known to be able to make their phone calls appear to come from genuine numbers. Scammers can also do this with text messages too and can even make messages appear in a chain of texts alongside previous genuine messages, making them look plausible.
Contact tracers will:
– call you from 0300 013 5000 – send you text messages from ‘NHS’ – ask you to sign into the NHS test and trace service website: https://contact-tracing.phe.gov.uk/ – ask for your full name and date of birth to confirm your identity, and postcode to offer support while self-isolating – ask about the coronavirus symptoms you have been experiencing – ask you to provide the name, telephone number and/or email address of anyone you have had close contact with in the 2 days prior to your symptoms starting – ask if anyone you have been in contact with is under 18 or lives outside of England
Contact tracers will never:
– ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087) – ask you to make any form of payment or purchase a product or any kind – ask for any details about your bank account – ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts – ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone – disclose any of your personal or medical information to your contacts – provide medical advice on the treatment of any potential coronavirus symptoms – ask you to download any software to your PC or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet to anyone else – ask you to access any website that does not belong to the government or NHS
Warwickshire Trading Standards advises all residents to:
Be vigilant. Don’t be afraid to delete an email/text or put the phone down if you believe it to be a scam
Take your time, don’t be rushed in to revealing personal information
If in doubt, ask or family member or friend for their advice
Report any type of scam to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. Citizens Advice can provide telephone support and advice. They will also alert Warwickshire Trading Standards Service who can provide additional advice