Gavin McAlister, Community Engagement Advisor at SARH, loads up his car before setting off on another delivery with Church Centre Manager Karen Wardell in the background.
7th May 2020

Coronavirus brings out the very best in our team

The worst of times often brings out the very best in people, and this has certainly proved to be the case at Housing Plus.

Across the group, we’ve seen plenty of examples of employees going the extra mile to help vulnerable members of the community and to lend a hand to other organisations doing great work in the communities we serve.

As a values-based organisation, we’re committed to doing all we can to support employees who are doing their best to help those in need during the coronavirus outbreak.

This support includes providing the work flexibility needed to become a volunteer for one of the many charities doing fantastic work across Staffordshire and Shropshire.

Gavin McAlister, Community Engagement Advisor at Stafford and Rural Homes is one member of the team to take up the offer and he recently completed his first shifts as a volunteer delivery driver for the foodbank at Rising Brook Community Church.

He’s also been putting his professional skills to good use by helping Stafford-based County Stores social supermarket and foodbank successfully apply for a £1000 emergency grant from The Community Foundation for Staffordshire.

Gavin believes it’s important that we all pull together during these testing times and says he is thoroughly enjoying helping the foodbank with its work ‘on the ground’ during the lockdown.

In response to the Covid-19 restrictions and in partnership with Stafford Borough Council, the foodbank at the church has expanded its operations to cover a wider area, and volunteers are needed to help get parcels of food and essential household items to those most in need.

Since the onset of the coronavirus outbreak the church has been closed and the space used as a storage and distribution centre, with Rising Brook joining forces with Signposts foodbank in nearby Highfields.

Gavin’s efforts have been praised by Liz Dipple, Director of Chaplaincy at Rising Brook Church, who explained that his knowledge of the area and his existing, strong connections with people in the community has proved particularly valuable.

His support has also strengthened the links between SARH and Rising Brook, two organisations that share common values when it comes to helping the community.
While we have no real idea of just how long the current restrictions will last, we can be sure that employees from across the Housing Plus Group will continue to show solidarity with various community groups, charities and individuals helping the most vulnerable to get through these unprecedented times - in keeping with our vision to make a positive difference to homes, lives and communities.

  • Although Rising Brook now has enough volunteers to manage deliveries of food parcels, shopping for vulnerable people and the collection of prescriptions, the foodbank is still in need of food donations which can be made at collection points across the area. Cash donations can be made here.
  • Liz and her team would also like to hear from anyone in need of help and they can be contacted on 01785 214750.

Photograph - Gavin McAlister, Community Engagement Advisor at SARH, loads up his car before setting off on another delivery with Church Centre Manager Karen Wardell in the background.

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