How different the world seemed only a few months ago. Then came the virus and lockdown.

Chartridge Parish Council was one of many local organisations that realised that people would need help. Not going out means not going to the shops. Or the letter box. Or even to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions.

The Parish Council decided to set up a support network for Chartridge and Pednor. There already was one in Bellingdon and Asheridge, organised by the Village Hall Association. We sent a leaflet to all the houses in Chartridge and Pednor, that’s about 450 homes. The leaflet said ‘if you need help, call this number’. And if you can help, also call this number.

Later the message was repeated in two newsletters published and delivered by the Chartridge Village Residents Association, which has been very supportive of the Parish Council’s initiative.

We have lost count of exactly how many have offered to help, but it’s getting on for a hundred people. Thank you to every one of those kind people. We set up a WhatsApp group to keep everyone involved and share information. We called it CoroNet – coronavirus network, yes? Very clever. Fortunately the demand for help has been less than the number of volunteers, but of course that’s a good thing.

In the past three months the group has helped with: shopping; collecting prescriptions; posting letters and taking parcels for collection; providing a friendly voice to talk to at the other end of a telephone, and much else besides. Including finding lost dogs and cats, and indeed there is now a subsidiary dog-walking network.  It has also been a valuable source of information, with people sharing recipe ideas, and links to online grocery delivery companies and take-away restaurants. The Bell in Chartridge has had some business as a result, and their fisn’n’chips and Sunday lunches have been getting rave reviews. There is also a CoroNet-inspired collection for Chesham Food Bank, on the second Thursday of each month, at least for the moment. Hundreds of kilograms of food have been donated, and hundreds of pounds raised also via the Parish Council.

We hope that the network that has been set up will be of use after the virus lockdown is over

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