Updated: May 7
Amidst the many and differing asks of us as your parish church and myself as your vicar, is the repeated desire for a simple one-stop place for the communication of links and resources & numbers as we together face this global pandemic together from this corner in Kent! So here's a starter of practical resources in the light of COVID-19, this will be refreshed & updated on an ongoing basis. Email sugguestions to email@example.com.
The go-to location for NHS advice, with the wider government stay-at-home COVID-19 advice here, with the wider government info platform here, and the BBC News 24 site for occasional not obsessive checking! Here's an astronauts guide to self-isolation: Chris is onto something!
Sevenoaks District Council offer their summary here: with Kent County Council overview here , the helpline number offered Kent-wide, and the NHS 111 online provision here: with their 111 phone service being really helpful if needed, if you need help please direct your enquiry here on the online SDC form... and regrettably if needed the process to report breaches of Covid-19 measures.
Get access via your library membership to free app and downloadable ebooks magazines papers and audio books,A free info book explaining the coronavirus to children, illustrated by Gruffalo illustrator Axel Scheffler, Asda are offering these really helpful volunteer shopping cards, Morrison's are offering phone shopping with next day delivery: Customers who wish to place an order should phone 0345 611 6111 and select option five. Kent Together are offering direct help if you are stuck, details here. and here's how Corona vulnerable households get food deliveries. Due to the increase and access of food from supermarkets as part of the SDC food provision there will be no charge for the emergency food boxes. These food boxes are intended to provide interim support to residents who are at risk, struggle or without support. The boxes consist of a selection of non-perishable goods, and are delivered the next working day. You can request one of these for a vulnerable resident by calling 01732 227000 by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org Our local Stanhill Farm will also make up an order: by email, order made up within 3-5 days, paid over the phone with you collecting your order number at your car, when you drive to the farm, all without physical touch. Martin Lewis is brilliant as always in his online weekly resource summaries. 'Release the pressure' - is a new helpline from Kent County Council, particularly seeking to serve well-being at this time. This offers a 24/7 access to a highly trained and experienced team, to provide expert support no matter what a person is going through. People are encouraged not to suffer in silence and to text the word Kent to 85258 or call the number 0800 107 0160, for free confidential support.
NHS 111 offer an online symptom checker where you can also get an isolation note for employers. Here's a COVID symptom tracker, the World Health Organization detail & resources, and there's a great NHS health summary here, General financial information about Coronavirus for employees & businesses, wider government for business help, & an information overview about universal credit if needed in these challenging times,
Amazon are offering lots of additional free online resources, The Mind wellbeing charity website offers much, the Kooth website, is a youth specific resource which includes advice boards, live chat with therapists, and peer to peer support, in these most unusual times, sadly the rise in scams in our community at this time is real: please note the ABC of scam awareness from Kent County Council. A - Never assume a caller, email or text is genuine. B - Never believe a caller, email or text is genuine. C - Always confirm by contacting a trusted number, family member, friend, your bank’s fraud department or the police to check if it’s genuine. If in doubt, don't! Loans sharks are wildly active, so please be aware.
Our own Hextable Parish Council regular updates are posted here: although the parish office is now closed to the public, the administration of the council is continuing as normal, such as enquiries, bookings & wider questions can be directed to Tracy the Parish Clerk by e-mail at email@example.com or by 07487 224728 during office hours. Aj & his family at One Stop, on Main Road, continue to be so accommodating of specific needs & shopping requests. Sunil & the team at Hextable pharmacy are so helpful also.
If you'd like to help in this global pandemic and it's practical demands, gladly consider contributing to our Community Compassion Fund, and rather than more loose foodstuffs, a local overstocked Foodbank, small Asda shopping gift cards are welcomed in units of £5 and £10's if you wish, in envelopes & left for distribution via the Vicarage.
Knitting small hearts for those in ITU is a simple community action we could play a part in following a reply from our link at DVH, "Thank you and your Church for all of your support. Welcome to use any pattern, here's some details here, we are just asking that they are small enough to fit in your hand easily. Any wool, any colour of knitted hearts would be great! Anything you send, could you please put inside a plastic bag with the date on. We can then distribute them appropriately. We'll gather them up here at the Vicarage, and Liz Warwick will will liase directly with DVH or drop them off directly yourself, and after a 72-hr check and clean they will be distributed to those in ITU particularly. You can either drop these into the hospital, pull up to main entrance and call us on 01322428431 or post them direct: Wellbeing Team, Trust HQ, Level 4, Darent Valley Hospital, Darenth Wood Road, Dartford, DA2 8DA
Our ongoing online church resources include a weekly blog piece: Wednesday Worship with Adam at 6pm on our church Facebook page, Sunday word & worship at 1030 on our church facebook page for all, and daily Encouragements from Ephesians at 12noon on Johnny's personal Facebook page, This Sunday we'll continue our 'hospitality at home ' after church via an 1115 Zoom group church conversation; sign-in details are in the church family email sent by Sue. Sunday content, a cuppa, conversation & prayer together is just fab!
If you or others you know are struggling, do be in touch with myself as your vicar, Sue at the church office or Pauline Pearson as our Pastoral Care Team leader. Direct any queries if you wish to firstname.lastname@example.org
The CofE have instigated, via Justin Welby, a free-phone resource whereby older, non-techy people can dial-up for a sermon, hymn or prayer. It’s refreshed daily. 0800 804 8044.
Lots of what is being reported in the national news causes people to understandably worry in these unprecedented times. Regrettably all of the permissions around occasional offices for baptisms, christenings, weddings are postponed for the foreseeable future. The implications of mass gatherings and social distancing make it impossible to serve you and your family in an ideal fashion. The Church of England go-to location reflects the changes needed at this time. Also for funeral provision this is much restricted also. Any funeral under the current situation is not going to provide a real opportunity for family and wider community mourning, so all will be offered a opportunity for thanksgiving & wider celebration of life at St Pauls Swanley Village or St Peters Hextable, when we are allowed public services again, and by mutual agreement with family members. In the meantime, the options are: a graveside burial service in the churchyard with a maximum of five people present - with social distancing in place, or a short committal service at one of our local crematoriums with similar numbers agreed in conjunction with the funeral director you have chosen. Recording the service for memories in this painful time can be agreed. These are incredibly difficult issues to contemplate and handle, which is why we as a church family will do all we can to resource and honour you better and more fully up ahead.
The graveyard at St Pauls Swanley Village is still fully accessible for family & friends albeit within the wider government directed social distancing guidelines.
Any and all fees, or deposits against special services planned will be honoured, and attached to the future dates to be rearranged with Sue at the church office or myself. We agreed in our March 2020 PCC mtg that we would do nothing to gain from any monies paid for planned events but rather do all we could to offer help, flexibility & hope to our community in this unprecedented time. Please do call me on 077990 72845 or email email@example.com if you wish to discuss this privately.
In a piece for BBC Radio Kent, I was asked for three things that could help listeners navigate isolation. I sugguested: Keeping an approximate daily routine, including fresh air & exercise, with bible reading, worship & prayer to feed our faith, not our fears: pursuing peace not panic. At the end of each day, note what took away most... what depletes most from you emotionally & physically, and what restored you. The next day, try to eliminate as many of first, and do more of second. And lastly find something each day that for at least an hour, uses a different skillset or interest, perhaps rarely used, and immerse yourself in that. This could be art, music, films, or a different genre of reading or learning from your vocation in the world.
What would you have suggested...since none of us have been this way before?
Anything else we might do by practical bespoke actions, within the wider SDC Care in the Community brief which I am the area lead for, or with the limited Community Compassion Fund help that as a church we have capacity for, do just ask. We exist gladly to serve all...