As part of her work as a Community Development Worker in the East, Felicity Fyall works alongside the Calders Residents Association (CRA).
Here she gives insight into the fantastic call to action the association took during the pandemic.
It has been well over a year since the start of the pandemic as we all know, and many organisations and charities, and individuals helped out during this crucial time. Within specifically the Calders, the Calders Residents Association straight away went into action as lockdown happened. The CRA is made up of locals who want to improve the community within the Calders and they each have roles within that. At the time of the pandemic, no one asked them to do anything but they saw the need and from that time organised one of the biggest food hubs in the area. Michelle the chair of the CRA organised and dealt with so many organisations, charities, restaurants and the council, dropping off and collecting food. It was a hive of activity five days a week, it took up all their time as they organised what was to go in freezers (which they bought extra!), fridges, who food was to go out to, and what was being made that day.
Five days a week, they stood at the front door of the community flat and gave out packed lunches and also hot food, two of the ladies went to deliver food to others that could not get out and to the sheltered housing as so many were shielding and vulnerable. It might have seemed chaotic in there but Michelle somehow during the midst of it kept her level head and knew all that was needed and what was going on. The CRA all have families and for themselves it was like everyone else a worrying and exhausting time, but they continued to show up for the community, not for any money at all, but because they cared. Through what they did, they bought the community closer together, friendships were formed through people coming for their food, families felt some relief in being able to feed their kids when they were not at school, those with anxiety and mental health problems being able to go to somewhere local to collect food instead of worrying about Covid and going further to a big supermarket and being able to collect a restaurant cooked meal instead of wondering in the evening what they would cook.
They do so many other things it would be hard to mention them all, but giving out toys, books, games, clothes, anything that they can do for the community, they will. There are so many organisations that have done so much in the pandemic, but really this group with little help continues to keep digging deeper to love everyone that comes along. They deserve so much more than a thank you, some people may take what they do for granted but the Calders would not be the place that it is without them. New people that have come to the area have continued to say that they feel a community spirit in the Calders and a large part of that is due to the CRA. So if you happen to see them, collect food from them, join in an event, pass by, please stop and say thank you.