West Berkshire Council


Peasemore Committee builds extended team of "Lockdown Volunteers" for the village

Interview with Pauline Beattie, Chair of Peasemore Committee


2020 - Peasemore case study - bunting
2020 - Peasemore case study - bunting
How did the Peasemore volunteer effort get started for the lockdown?

Peasemore Committee has been in place for a number of years to raise funds for charities and local village facilities. We also arrange community events - for example, an annual Halloween party for children and Christmas dinner for local dignitaries and residents who may ordinarily struggle to have the festive meal.

When lockdown hit, as this year's incoming Chair, it was my responsibility to put together an extended team of helpers for Peasemore Committee to assist all those in need. When we put out a call for help, loads of people offered to help - we had up to 30 active volunteers at any point of time throughout the lockdown.

Newly armed with volunteers, the extended committee put out a leaflet in the village offering support to those who were shielding. Following the response from the community, we divided up the village and assigned each volunteer to about 5 or 6 shielded residents to support and look out for.

The volunteers called them every day or so to see if they needed any help, such as any shopping, walking the dog, gardening or mowing the lawn. Some of this activity is ongoing post lockdown for those who still need some assistance.


How did volunteers manage to get food and supplies for shielding residents at the start of the lockdown when many supermarkets ran out of goods?

When items were scarce during the lockdown period, our local pub, Fox at Peasemore, set up a pop up shop. Phil and Lauren, who run the Fox, were able to secure produce and other items from their suppliers. This was very helpful as many of the volunteers were able to purchase goods from here for shielding residents.


Prescription collections and deliveries were also a big challenge across the UK in lockdown. How did this issue affect Peasemore?

This certainly was a big issue for the vulnerable; not just the elderly, but younger people as well, all of whom were concerned about how they would be able to obtain their medications. Three of us in the volunteer committee set up prescription collections, each of us taking a week on a rotational basis. We've now arranged a driver to come and drop off the prescriptions each week at the house of one of our volunteers, given that the government prescription delivery service stopped on July 31st.


What advice would you give to volunteer groups who have to quickly form in an emergency situation such as this?

What worked for us was having just a few people in charge of overall co-ordination to avoid any confusion or overlap. I'd also advise to keep talking with your group; keep the lines of communication open. Be fast and specific about what needs to be done and when. And don't be afraid to take people's help. If they offer to do something, take them up on it and don't be shy about it. That also makes volunteers feel valued. People have told us that they felt so good at being able to help out, and to help each other.


Peasemore Committee managed to set up a socially distanced VE Day celebration for the whole village in less than a day. How did you manage this amazing achievement?

2020 - Peasemore Case Study - Church front
2020 - Peasemore Case Study - Church front
Again, it was down to solid co-ordination and the team moving swiftly. All of the village festivities we had planned over the year, including VE Day, had been cancelled due to Covid-19, as you can imagine. However, literally the day before, volunteers got together to create an impromptu village party to be held on VE Day, 8 May.

The Reverend Douglas Dales had let us know that he would be attending to the church bell ringing at St Barnabas Church at 11 am to observe the two minutes of silence. The Committee decided to build an event around this important occasion, and join the nation in holding a socially-distanced village get-together.

2020 - Peasemore street party invite
2020 - Peasemore street party invite
On 7 May we sent out an invitation to the village to participate in a VE Day 75th Anniversary Stay at Home Street party. This started with the bell ringing and included having refreshments outside in the afternoon. 

That evening, ten of us, led by Sam, put up miles of bunting around the village, which we managed to swiftly procure by calls and emails to local residents.

On the day itself, the whole village came out and assembled along the main road of the village to observe the two minutes of silence. We were all dressed up and had great fun chatting to each other, standing at least 2 metres apart of course. It was such as party atmosphere as nobody had seen each other for quite a period of time.


Montage Holder
2020 - Peasemore case study - street party montage
2020 - Peasemore case study - street party montage


What else has Peasemore Committee been busy with?

2020 - Peasemore case study - Winning Sunflower
2020 - Peasemore case study - Winning Sunflower
We've just completed a sunflower growing competition for children. The winner's sunflower reached a height of 2m 24cm, grown by Mostyn, aged 12.

At the beginning of lockdown the Peasemore Committee placed a whole load of seeds in envelopes in a box we put outside of the church. We sent an email out to the village to parents, inviting their children to take an envelope, which contained instructions on how to grow and take care of the plant.

Via their parents, the children sent us lovely photos of the sunflowers along with their plants' measurements. The children's efforts certainly gave the village a lot of sunny cheer!


Any final thoughts you'd like to share?

On behalf of Peasemore Committee I'd like to extend a huge thank you to all our helpers and the wider community. The wellbeing of the residents of Peasemore is entirely down to the collaborative commitment, kindness and sincerity of the village as a whole.