Punchline Business and Community Champion: Cheltenham Guardians
By Sarah Wood | 15th April 2020
Cheltenham Guardians are a group of volunteers who spend their Saturday nights making sure that people who have had too much to drink in Cheltenham can get home safely.
But during lockdown, there has been no call on their valuable service. Rather than enjoying the break and putting their feet up, Cheltenham Guardians have turned to supporting the NHS and keyworkers across the county.
They have already raised £9,400 for initiatives directly related to Covid-19. They have raised the cash by appealing to the community through their established social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter and by making their own donations.
Their hard work has already made a huge difference, including:
- £500 donated to frontline NHS critical care teams
- £250 donated to GRH to facilitate communication between COVID-19 patients and their families
- £200 donated to Monkscroft Care Centre for staff welfare and PPE
- £200 donated to Cotswold Curtains to buy fabric to manufacture scrubs for the NHS
- £200 donated to Cheltenham Hackspace to purchase materials to manufacture face visors for the NHS
- Donation of all resilience stocks of PPE to Gloucestershire Constabulary
- Purchase and delivery of a new refrigerator and microwave for a new temporary staff area at CGH
- Purchase and pending delivery of 550 bottles of hand balm for frontline NHS employees
- Purchase and pending delivery of 2000 bottles of water for South Western Ambulance Service
- Purchase and delivery of 2000 paper coffee cups for CGH and facilitation of donation of 30,000 in total
- Facilitation of donation of over 300 bottles of shampoo and shower gel to CGH
Terry Howard, operations director of Cheltenham Guardians Safeguarding Team, said: "It's all aimed at the NHS and supporting the operational welfare of the staff. With regard to the likes of PPE, we can't do a lot with that as that's required at regional and level, so we are focusing on staff welfare.
"NHS staff reach out to us and we're being responsive, we're not guessing what we think they might like. The great thing is that we can turn it round very quickly. For example, we got the water from the same company that deals with emergency water when there'e a drought. We buy in bulk and get the best value for money. We've been working through corporate suppliers like Creed.
"Any PPE we did have, we donated to the Constabulary. We work in the night time economy and had face mask and hand sanitiser. There's currently no night time economy, so they weren't needed. I saw that Avon & Somerset Constabulary had put a request out for PPE, so I contacted the police in Gloucestershire to ask if they wanted our supplies and they did.
"The Cheltenham community has been absolutely fantastic and has supported us for a number of years. When we put out an appeal, the whole community wanted to help NHS workers. They know the funding isn't going to a faceless bank account. The community can see where money is going and that it's all going to help the frontline of the NHS."
Cheltenham Guardians set an initial fundraising target of £1,000, which they hit very quickly. They gradually moved their target upwards and are now hopping to reach £15,000 to support key workers during the coronavirus crisis.
Terry said: "If we get anywhere near £15,000, we will set a new target at £20k. We don't know how long this is going to last. The situation is so fluid at the moment. We are worried we will be in a position where we can't fund further requests because we've run out of money."
All of which is why Punchline has named Cheltenham Guardians as one of its Business and Community Champions.
The campaign is an initiative backed by the Gloucestershire local enterprise partnership, GFirst LEP, and the Growth Hub, which runs the network of business support centres county-wide.
The aim of the campaign - to shine the spotlight on some of the great work being done by businesses to help their communities during the pandemic.
Punchline's Business and Community Champion Awards are sponsored by:
The Growth Hub Gloucestershire
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