Hawkhurst residents are pulling together and creating a model for
community support that is spreading across the county.
Commenting on the establishment of a community support group,
Councillor Clare Escombe, chairman, Hawkhurst Parish Council said:
“In Hawkhurst, as elsewhere, there has been a wonderful community
response to the coronavirus crisis from people eager to help their neighbours
and recognising that we are all in this together. Given the scale of the support needed over the
coming weeks, it was important to establish robust systems to ensure that
everyone in Hawkhurst can access the support they require and that volunteers
are co-ordinated and properly supported.
The Parish Council, working with local volunteers, set up Hawkhurst
Community Support Group.”
“The Community Support Group matches volunteers with people
needing support – whether that is shopping, collecting prescriptions, or simply
arranging telephone calls to check on people and combat loneliness.
Hawkhurst is a traditional village, yet is fully utilising digital
technology in order to support the residents. An on-line form enables people to register as
a volunteer; and, those who need support can nominate themselves or you can
suggest someone who might need support who will then be contacted.”
The Group’s co-ordination team have access to the bespoke online
database, which is automatically populated when help is requested or offered
through the online platform. This form
can be found on the new HCSG website www.hawkhurstcommunitysupport.com and from
links in our Parish website and community social media pages.
There is also a dedicated telephone line 01580 453015 which is
answered between 9am and 6pm with messages taken out of hours. To ensure no-one is left out the Council has
produced leaflets that are being delivered by volunteers to houses in the
As well as the registered volunteers we know that many people are
informally helping neighbours. This is great, but it is important for
them to register with the Community Scheme to ensure that the person they are
helping is supported if anything happens to the volunteer.
Cllr Escombe concluded:
“Hawkhurst is blessed with goodwill, enthusiasm and talent
and we have been incredibly fortunate with the offers of help. We have amazing local talent – our operating
procedures were written by a resident with experience in emergency planning and
our on-line system created by a leading tech-entrepreneur. This model has been shared locally with the
other parish councils and with the National Association of Local Councils.
As well as responding to local needs, HCSG will also deliver
support to residents by acting as the Hawkhurst hub for the county-wide
response. HCSG’s Co-ordination Group
have worked tirelessly over the past week to get HCSG up and running.
We already have more than 100 volunteers and I want to pay tribute
to this community spirit, which we very are proud to support.
For further information, please
contact Richard the Parish Clerk on 01580 752058 or