Coronavirus: QPARA launches support networks as ‘backstop’ to Queen’s Park’s informal volunteer groups

Virginia Brand, chair of Queen's Park Area Residents' Association.

Virginia Brand, chair of Queen's Park Area Residents' Association. - Credit: Archant

Queen’s Park’s largest residents’ association has launched a support network to help with all related efforts in the community during the Covid-19 lockdown.

QPARA (Queen’s Park Area Residents’ Association) has set up a Community Support Network for the vulnerable who should not be shopping or violating social distancing rules during the Coronavirus epidemic.

Those most at risk are the over 70s, those with serious long-term medical conditions such as cancer,heart disease, diabetes and also pregnant women.

A leaflet has been dropped into 2,500 homes with the name and telephone number of co-ordinators in 18 different ‘zones’.

Each co-ordinator will link helpers with those who need help and make contact by phone or email and guidance on safe shopping for others has also been sent to them.

Queen’s Park already has a mutual aid support group linking volunteers with people, but the association were keen to stress this support will not replace what is already working.

Robin Sharp, QPARA member who is also chair of Brent Patient Voice, said: “Our scheme is based on 18 Zone Co-ordinators at street level who will link volunteers and those needing shopping done for them.

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“It is meant to be a backstop to the numerous informal groups set up via What’s App and support by friends and family.

“Our scheme is being delivered to all 2500 households in the QPARA area - so no one should be missed.”

The whole of the country has been in lockdown since March 23 initially for three weeks.

In his address Boris Johnson asked that people only leave home if they were shopping for basic necessities such as food and medicine.

Individuals can also do one form of exercise a day such as a run walk or cycle, alone or with people they live with.

Those with a medical need or needs to provide care or to help a vulnerable person are also permitted to leave.

And those travelling to ‘essential’ places of work where working at home is not possible.

Virginia Bland, chair of the association, said: “We think this will be a long haul.

“QPARA’s tested and tried structure has produced local folk whom we know and trust.

“We hope this will mesh with the enthusiasm of new volunteers and give staying power.”