At The Centre, 15 months ago, approximately 35 people responded to an invitation from Tollesbury Parish Council, to meet and brainstorm about how we could support each other as we faced the coming lockdown and unknown future through the Covid-19 crisis.
From that meeting came three actions – the setting up of a volunteer scheme to support those who needed it (Tolls Vols), the creation of a signal in each house to indicate if help was needed (the red/green leaflet) and the funding support required for this (phone lines, printing and later specific help). To this group a big thanks for kick-starting something so amazing.
Huge thanks are owed to many people. First of all Roy Clare, who took forward responsibility for setting up and running Tolls Vols, ably assisted by a small Steering Group of people willing to take on specific responsibilities (including Parish Councillors, the Parish Clerk, and other active villagers). Secondly the Tolls Vols Area Co-ordinators ensuring every house was covered, and thirdly of course the 120 volunteers who gave up their time and made it work so brilliantly.
Backing them up were Fellowship Afloat led by Andrew Eastham and their on-board volunteers, providing practical support not least in delivering the red/green leaflets, and doing the printing and joining in generally with volunteer tasks.
We are very fortunate as a village to have the Tailler Charity, who again responded promptly and helped considerably when needs arose. Thank you Trustees!
Our gratitude also goes to those working in the village shops, businesses and faith communities all assisting where needed, and not least the Pharmacy team and the Surgery. These are the people we all saw in action, but we know there were also countless other acts of neighbourliness and support going on in the village.
My personal thanks go to my fellow Councillors for all their hard work, and in particular Michelle Curtis who immediately stepped up to act as Secretary to the Tolls Vols, while also enabling us all to adapt to online meetings and stay on top of normal Parish business. A big thank you Michelle!
Simon Plater, Chair