HEROIC care workers serving on the frontline of the coronavirus have been given a safe place to stay at Whitchurch’s local church.

The brave staff, who have been working at Wessex Lodge throughout the pandemic, were worried about spreading the virus by going home to their families after shifts.

Each night, the selfless staff instead were sleeping on the floor of the care homes . When church members at All Hallows Church found out, they wanted to help - and made rooms inside the annex, just a short walk from the care home.

The church buildings are currently closed to the public, and so care staff are able to use the rooms at All Hallows and don’t run the risk of taking the virus home to their families or bringing it into the care home from outside. The annex can sleep six, with toilet facilities and a kitchen, all for the exclusive use of the care staff.

As well as providing much needed accommodation for care home staff, a volunteer from the church is also acting as a central point of contact for local community groups to coordinate support for those in need. This coordination has meant that all the Whitchurch voluntary groups have been able to work together during lockdown to support isolated and vulnerable people within the community. Volunteers have been helping those who need it by offering to do shopping, collect prescriptions, deliver meals, deliver food parcels, and also to provide emergency financial aid.

Trained volunteers from the church congregation have also been staying in contact by phone with those who are stuck in their homes. More than 50 Whitchurch residents who are isolated due to the virus receive regular calls from church volunteers to offer them pastoral support and companionship.

Andrew Ricketts of the All Hallows Pastoral Visiting Team said: “At the start of the lockdown, we knew that there would be many in our community who would be isolated and would need help. It’s been a hectic two months, but we have been able to keep in contact with those who need help, and ensure they have the vital supplies and moral support they need to make this daunting period a little easier.”

The Reverend David Roche, vicar of All Hallows Church said: “The care staff are doing an amazing job and we were desperate to help in any way we could. We are so grateful for all they are doing to look after those in their care, and when we heard that they needed somewhere to sleep we were only too pleased to offer space in the Church Rooms.”

The Right Reverend David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke, said: “All Hallows is at the heart of the community, and the way in which the team there have rallied the different voluntary groups to work together is really encouraging. When communities come together like they have in Whitchurch, it is amazing what can be achieved, ensuring that no one in the community is left isolated or in need.”