Church Street Councillor Aicha Less describes her experience as a volunteer during the current pandemic
“I signed up to Westminster Connects as a Volunteer as I’m fully aware of the issues and struggles that our residents have. Many are self-employed or not working at all, and rely on the little finances they have. I have been appointed a ‘super shopper’ which means, I collect shopping from Westminster College (one of 3 hubs in north Westminster) and drop off to the designated resident. There is no face to face interaction, so mainly we speak to residents behind their front door; they order via telephone or email and shopping is delivered. They are given a unique code, which they then call in to make the payment. I am also calling residents who are known to me in my Church Street ward, for a friendly chat and if they need anything, like medication or shopping, I arrange that as well.
I am also signed up for the befriending service to the vulnerable/elderly residents. I had training to deal with issues that may arise, but it’s just a 30-minute chat, that is greatly received and appreciated. However, what occurred to me is that so many people are isolated in any case, regardless of COVID 19. This is very upsetting that some don’t have friends or family, but the aim is to lift their spirits and give them assurance that this will be over soon. It can be quite challenging at times, as some have mental health issues and not everyone’s tolerance levels are the same.
All in all, my experience from this has certainly been an eye-opener and I’m extremely happy that I can give back to the community, in any way that I can. Which in turn, provides empathy and security to those that need it the most, and they know how to reach out in times of need”.