“South Oxhey & Carpenders Park Covid-19 Outreach Group” all started when Colin Ingham and a few volunteers came together as a small informal group, all wanting to help South Oxhey & Carpenders Park residents who were in shielding and in need of food.

It soon developed into a large Facebook group with many followers; support came from local businesses, who started to help with food donors, and with other people offering financial donations like Councillor Joan King, and access to local scout hut by way of asset donation.

The forum-strong collaboration

The group were informed about W3RT CVS as a support service, providing advice, training and guidance for groups like theirs. They started to attend the “Covid-19 Support Forums” where groups, both small and large, could talk together and share experiences to help each other with solutions to the challenges arising from the pandemic, and then joined W3RT CVS as a member.

The group found solutions on areas such as safeguarding guidance, referral pathways, mental health guidance, GDPR rules and volunteer management support from W3RT CVS. Colin said:

“We really benefitted from other group forum attendees’ experiences including guidance on SCAMS, Mental health training, Money advice from CAB, Herts Mind Network, and Herts Trading Standards.”

It was through W3RT CVS that Colin met with Jane from “Random Café”, and also developed a strong relationship with Christine from “ASCEND”.  

Step In…Take Away

Random Café was one group on the forum who talked through their experience of setting up their project, and the group thought the idea of a similar project would work well in the South Oxhey area. ASCEND who already who have the “Step Up” Healthy Hub project (a partnership project with Three Rivers District Council) and the Building Better Opportunities (partnership with Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service) and were working with the “South Oxhey & Carpenders Park Covid-19 Outreach Group” in supporting some of their clients, started the conversations as to how they could continue to support people coming out of shielding at the end in July, and the scout hut was then needed back by the scouts.

With some funding left over, and advice on community project and safe socialisation being discussed in the forum, “Step In…Take Away” was then born as an affordable food provider to those in need already attending ASCEND, and other vulnerable people in the community. So with the support of ASCEND and their funders HAFLS, Sue from Co-Op, County Councillor for South Oxhey, Joan King and Three Rivers District Council, Colin’s group developed the Step In…Take Away food hub. 

The food hub opened its doors on the 21st Sept. So far it is helping support over 28 people from the community. And Wenzel’s the bakers have joined as a food donor too.  

Colin from “South Oxhey & Carpenders Park Covid-19 Outreach Group” concluded:

“I’d like to thank all my fellow volunteers, and all our Facebook supporters who helped form the Group back in spring. And then ASCEND and Random Café, as well as all the other groups in the forums each week for their stories and experiences. W3RT CVS have really been pivotal in making this all happen. Special thanks to Ali for hosting the forums and Alex for guidance around food share. We couldn’t have done all this without you.”

ASCEND would like to give a special thanks to the leading collaborators, who’s continued dedication made all this possible for those in need within the South Oxhey & Carpenders areas:

  • Three Rivers District Council
  • Hertfordshire Adult & Family Learning Service
  • Joan King
  • Colin Ingham 
  • Carpender Park Co-op
  • Wenzel’s 

For more on ASCEND click here.

For more on the South Oxhey & Carpenders Park Covid-19 Outreach Group click here.

More on Random Cafe click here.

And more on the Covid-19 Support Forums email [email protected].