How the Royston Crow showed community coming together during the coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 10:59 11 October 2020

Samantha Hanks, Rachel Haynes, Liam Mason, Kate Beed, Julie Lye, Julia Bradley, Dave Carter, Clare Swarbrick and Alex Prosser-Snelling from the Royston vs Coronavirus Facebook group. Pictures: Paul Lye, Paul Haynes, Imogen Prosser, supplied

Samantha Hanks, Rachel Haynes, Liam Mason, Kate Beed, Julie Lye, Julia Bradley, Dave Carter, Clare Swarbrick and Alex Prosser-Snelling from the Royston vs Coronavirus Facebook group. Pictures: Paul Lye, Paul Haynes, Imogen Prosser, supplied

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Throughout lockdown, the Crow has highlighted ways that the people of Royston and the surrounding villages have come together to support the community during the pandemic.

MVC principal Simon Holmes and Susan van de Ven with donated equipment. Picture; Courtesy of MVCMVC principal Simon Holmes and Susan van de Ven with donated equipment. Picture; Courtesy of MVC

In March, just a week before the UK went into lockdown, we spoke to Joanne Glasscock, who is from Royston and now lives in Italy.

Having experienced life close to the epicentre of Italy’s outbreak, she offered a timely warning about what to expect.

Once lockdown took hold, the Crow covered the formation of community group Royston vs Coronavirus, which was set up by resident Dave Carter to help people in need.

Within two weeks more than 2,000 people had signed up to the group, with members delivering food, medicine and more to those who were self-isolating. The group was particularly busy in May – at one point receiving 167 calls in one week.

Joanne Glasscock with her husband Willi and son James. Picture: Courtesy of Joanne GlasscockJoanne Glasscock with her husband Willi and son James. Picture: Courtesy of Joanne Glasscock

The initiative spawned Royston Talks, started by mental health training manager Kate Beed, to offer emotional support to anyone feeling lonely or vulnerable and help them feel included in the community.

Kate said: “You may normally get your connections going out into town and saying hello to people – Royston is a friendly place, you walk down the street and see people you know – but that’s not happening now.”

The Crow also campaigned to save Shepreth Wildlife Park, which suffered losses of more than £400,000 while closed for lockdown. We publicised the wildlife park’s struggles and its call for donations, and the park reopened in June with social distancing measures in place.

SWP owner Rebecca Willers said they would not have survived had they not been able to reopen, but emphasised the need for further donations to keep the
park afloat during the winter months.

Dave Carter started the Royston vs Coronavirus group on Facebook. Picture: Dave CarterDave Carter started the Royston vs Coronavirus group on Facebook. Picture: Dave Carter

We also brought you updates from the group Meldreth Community Coronavirus Support, which organised help for the village and surrounding areas.

One of their tasks was building new computers out of donated second-hand ones, to give to Melbourn Village College students who were studying at home due to the pandemic but did not have their own equipment.

Principal Mr Simon Holmes said: “We’re extremely grateful for this equipment as it will make a significant difference to those children and families who receive it.”

Kate Beed is leading the new Royston Talks scheme. Picture: Kate BeedKate Beed is leading the new Royston Talks scheme. Picture: Kate Beed

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