West Berkshire Council


Volunteer Chieveley Springs into Action to Support Community

2020 - Chieveley Volunteers
2020 - Chieveley Volunteers















Volunteer Chieveley quickly set up in early March  2020 in anticipation of the spread of Covid and the prospect of a possible lockdown. The three who started the ball rolling, Nicky Ager, Sarah Hutchison and Helen Singleton said this could not have been done without the support of the many volunteers in the village who stepped in without question to help wherever they could.

"This was a complete village response," said Nicky Ager. "Chieveley is an amazing place to live!"

We asked Nicky to tell us more about the wonderful work of Volunteer Chieveley, and she kindly shared the following heart-warming story:

Our purpose was to address difficulties some residents may find, especially the elderly and the vulnerable; provide temporary support for those in need; and to try to assist with the general wellbeing of our whole community.

With the help of three volunteers, a robust and proactive pyramid of over 90 very quickly formed in response to the pandemic. The village was divided into 19 smaller areas, each having its own local coordinator, who would feed information into the main Chieveley hub. To notify every household of their local coordinator, information cards along with self-isolation posters were funded by Chieveley Parish Council and delivered by our group to every household within days. These were followed up at the end of June with a newsletter that was kindly printed free of charge by 3 Tier Print Management.

As a group we have combined our skills and endeavoured to offer help and support in so many different ways including: shopping, prescription collection, cooking and delivering meals, offering basic information on the current rules and restrictions, gardening, dog walking, providing lifts to medical appointments, tech advice, pop up library, buddy scheme, a voice at the end of the phone, form filling - to mention just a few!

It very soon became apparent that some families were finding it hard to feed their families due to either losing their jobs or were suffering a period of financial hardship due to Covid. In April the Chieveley Food Exchange was launched, which was stocked by way of the many generous donations from our wonderful community here in Chieveley.

2020 - Chieveley Food
2020 - Chieveley Food

Weekly food boxes containing essential items were then delivered to these families observing complete confidentiality. Just a few weeks later, with the help of our lovely home bakers we then launched our weekly kindness bags for our elderly, vulnerable and anyone having a bit of a tough time.

Each week they contain a variety of homemade fayre and have proved to be an enormous hit. It is a way for Chieveley to show we care and are thinking of them, and it also gives us the opportunity for a quick social distanced chat on the doorstep to see how things are going. The smile and sheer joy on the recipient's faces says it all. We have also managed to surprise a few residents who were celebrating a significant birthday or anniversary during lockdown when they couldn't celebrate with their families.

Chieveley has also been supported by the local website providing information from the surgery, the pub which ran a takeaway service, the local shop and local food suppliers. Shepherds Bakery, sadly no longer in business, sourced fresh produce and provided a lifeline to self-isolating residents with their ordering and delivery service through the website.

We are currently working on trying to make Chieveley just that little bit more cheery this year; watch this space!