Tea-rrific volunteers have put together 50 special Victory in Europe (VE Day) afternoon tea boxes for Rochdale residents who are socially isolating due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The 75th anniversary of VE Day, marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, was commemorated on Friday, 8 May. Despite coronavirus restrictions, councillors Rachel Massey and Wendy Cocks along with Tracie Powers and her daughter, Sam, who run the Vintage Worx community hub in Falinge Park were determined to celebrate the day.
Normally, the Falinge Park community tea rooms are bustling with local people taking part in craft, confectionery and gardening groups. The sessions are a lifeline and provide much needed support and social interaction for people who live on their own, are carers, or are over 60.
While the tea rooms are currently closed following lockdown restrictions, the community hub has kept in touch with those that attend groups through WhatsApp and regular Zoom meet-ups.
Tracie said: "Lockdown is tough for a lot of people. Those of us who live alone, or who have to socially shield, meaning that they can't leave their homes at all, are some of the hardest hit. We'd planned so much to commemorate the 75th anniversary of VE Day that we couldn't just let the day go by without doing something to reflect and celebrate with our community.
"We came up with the idea of hosting a Zoom quiz and delivering afternoon tea boxes to those hit hardest by the current situation."
Each decorated box contained pie, sandwiches, cakes and scones and was delivered by the team with help from local councillor Wendy Cocks, Spotland Methodist Church's Leonie O'Donoghue, and local resident Julie Waller.
Spotland and Falinge Councillor, Rachel Massey, said: “Many residents live in social isolation every day, and with lockdown even more are having to isolate from loved ones and family. Like a lot of people locally, I've been working with charities to try and best help those in need from a distance. I heard about this scheme through Action Together who have kindly funded the Zoom subscription and provided tablets for those that needed them.
“It was community spirit that got us through the war years, it will get us through this virus, and it has resonated so much as we remembered those who fought so bravely for our freedom 75 years ago."
Jane Denton who received one of the afternoon tea boxes said: “This is the most wonderful idea. It’s so thoughtful, I can’t thank you enough. This isolation is depressing, it’s such a difficult time. This afternoon tea has really cheered me up, for you to come out dressed up and to have thought to do this. Thank you.”
Action together are a charity that cover Rochdale, Oldham and Tameside. During the coronavirus crisis they have provided support and funded more than £18,000 of projects including; emergency supplies for vulnerable people, PPE for volunteers, online wellbeing support, food banks and meals for NHS staff.
If you would like to volunteer or donate, visit: actiontogether.org.uk/rochdale for more information.