What a difference a year makes - West End Warriors and other WhatsApp groups
Well it has been a year to the day that things really changed for all of us and the decision was taken to follow government advice and cancel all groups at the centre so that we could keep everyone safe. We thought we would take the opportunity this week to look back at some of our schemes and how people have supported each and their community over this strange and difficult year.
When we knew a lockdown might happen we encouraged beneficiaries to 'take the West End Pledge'; to take two peoples contact details and commit to contact them a couple of times a week. The friendships formed through this scheme have continued right through the pandemic, with people delivering shopping, collecting prescriptions and sharing resources and providing a listening ear when needed.
Although our building was suddenly closed we knew that support was still required and we needed to find a different way of doing this (and quickly). After all the West End isn't the building- its the people that make up its community.
Staff started working from home and the WhatsApp group West End Warriors group was set up the very next day with IT support given to those who needed it. The group has been a life line to so many people and continues running to this day.
"The WhatsApp groups have managed to keep everyone in touch although we cant physically see each other"
"West End quizzes, chat, and the rest of it has been priceless. I think the West End have done a fantastic job of looking after us all"
It has given us an arena to share information, fun, friendship and support.
Many people on the WhatsApp group had an interest in local history so a spin off interest group the 'History Buffs' quickly followed. This group has been a great success with volunteer Kev taking the lead to give us our daily pictures and Kathryn running a popular Thursday night quiz.
" Thursday night is a couple of hours where you can forget everything, joining in is so much fun, the banter is great. I don't do quizzes as a rule but really look forward to this one!"
I really enjoy doing the quiz, its always a good laugh and you get to learn new things about each other, love how everyone gets on. and always support each other. It connects people and we get to laugh and joke with each other. For isolated people it gives them a lift, something to look forward to and compete also, even if like myself you don't know the majority of the people. I still fit in and feel accepted"
When the Centre was open we had a weekly depression support group " Friends in need"
This too quickly became an online group and has continued to provide much needed support and stability for people in a quickly changing and sometimes frightening world
"The depression support group. Someone is always there, I can log in and have that support, its a massive thing -I feel very lucky all the groups are there"
"Its because of you all that I am still here"
We launched our 'Weigh to Go' group back in August to help people get as fit as possible to fight Covid and other diseases. A WhatsApp group was set up so people could support each other and this has really taken on a life of its own, with people sharing recipes, cooking tips, exercise ideas and routines, daily steps, photos of food they have cooked and just being there and supporting each other through good times and bad. Someone in the group recently had a fall and unfortunately broke their ankle and the group have been there to provide support, encouragement and ideas for keeping on track.
Participants have reported that they are feeling healthier, fitter and after jumping on the scales they have also lost weight! Well done to everyone!
We just want to say thank you to everyone for playing their part in supporting others and keeping our community happy, safe and healthy over the past year.