How the Welwyn Hatfield Times showed the community coming together during the coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 10:59 11 October 2020

Ophelia with letters from her pen pals. Picture: Supplied

Ophelia with letters from her pen pals. Picture: Supplied

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Throughout lockdown, the Welwyn Hatfield Times has highlighted ways that the Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and Potters Bar communities have come together to help others during the pandemic.

Thousands of special packs have been handed out to isolated elderly people in Hertfordshire, to help improve their mental wellbeing. Picture: Courtesy of HILSThousands of special packs have been handed out to isolated elderly people in Hertfordshire, to help improve their mental wellbeing. Picture: Courtesy of HILS

At the height of lockdown in April, the WHT covered a school in Brookmans Park which raised more than £5,000 to make PPE for care workers and for the NHS. We publicised Queenswood School’s call for donations after they exhausted their supply of raw materials needed to construct the equipment.

We also covered the heartwarming story of seven-year-old Ophelia from WGC, who wrote letters to people living at Peel Court retirement community who were unable to go outside and see their families.

Another local hero whose efforts we showcased was Mark Beevor, a design and technology teacher at Stanborough School, who used the school’s 3D printer to create PPE for organisations in Welwyn Hatfield, including the Peartree and Parkway GP surgeries at St Audrey’s Care Home in Hatfield.

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In Hatfield, we covered the work of Hatfield Harrier Helpers – a group of good Samaritans working alongside The Harrier pub to deliver more than 500 food parcels and prescriptions – and encouraged readers to donate to the group’s funding page.

The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield was turned into a homeless shelter during the pandemic, which we wrote about as part of our ongoing coverage of the Welwyn Hatfield-based charity Resolve.

CEO of Resolve Joe Heeney said: “To say it is an amazing thing [our five staff] are doing is one of the greatest understatements of all time.

“All of the staff team volunteered to live in what we are calling ‘Resolve’s Isolation Shelter’ for the duration of the lockdown so as to ensure the safety and welfare of our shelter guests.”

The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve. The Jim McDonald Centre in Hatfield has been turned into a homeless shelter during the coronavirus pandemic. Picture: Resolve.

We also ran a story on Herts Scrub Hub, which saw 50 volunteers sewing hundreds of pairs of scrubs for NHS staff at Lister Hospital, Watford General, Luton & Dunstable and Barnet Hospital, as well as local GP surgeries.

Finally we showcased the joint effort of group Small Acts of Kindness and Hertfordshire Independent Living Service to distribute 3,000 mental wellbeing packs to the elderly and isolated in Herts.


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