Danielle Morris, founder of Warehams Helping Hands

I'm proud of Wareham - where locals are willing to help each other...

Where to start? A time in my life where I have felt most appreciated and feeling proud to live in Wareham. Where locals are willing to help each other. I can happily say I love where I live!

Being a qualified carer for many years, I am aware of vulnerable people living in Wareham and surrounding areas.

Currently working as a Early Years Practitioner and with the schools and Pre-schools closing, I have had more time on my hands until I return to my daily working routine.

I also found in this experience a great way to show my two boys aged 11 and 16 how it feels being kind in providing help at such a  crucial time in our lives.

Something inside my head said “I need to help these people”.

This day came on the 16th March 2020.

I created 'Wareham’s Helping Hands' to provide help...

I created a Facebook group called ‘Wareham’s Helping Hands’ which seemed to provide a lot of help for people from the start. The number of members increased rapidly to my surprise, and this is currently continuing.

My husband Garry and I printed leaflets explaining what help we could provide, keeping to the government’s guidelines.

Whether this would be shopping, prescription deliveries or a friendly chat over the phone. The leaflets provided my contact number to call. These leaflets were posted in areas of Wareham and Sandford which I thought our help provided would be at most use, also possibly residents not having access to Facebook.

I printed copies for chemists, flats, shop windows in Sandford and Wareham.

It wasn’t long before I was contacted by a lady in London expressing her worries regarding her parents, and for obvious reasons she was unable to provide help for them.

This was one of my reason to start the group, family members living so far away during this pandemic.

I reassured every person that contacted me, by giving advice, information on organisations that offered help, and offering help from myself in ways I was able to, without putting myself or others at risk.

One of my touching and grateful answering message I received was from a gentleman in his late 80’s describing his worries and how much he appreciated my creation of the group. This lead to many chats over the phone.

This brought tears to my eyes and kept me continuing in all the help I was able to give.

But I needed a little help myself...

It wasn’t long before I needed a little help myself, as well as Garry helping. I asked my husband’s cousin, Marie Lowry, to help in delivering shopping and prescriptions, and Marie happily accepted my plea.

I have continued to share information on the group, take phone calls of requests, chatting to many vulnerable people that were afraid and lonely, which would be over the phone or 2 metres from their door step; talking about our day, or what’s for tea, were favourite topics.

I have registered my self to the COVID community group of volunteers and also Dorset COVID-19 community response, providing my valid DBS when required.

I have received many emails and phone calls requesting help, though this has now eased slightly due to the government’s guidelines.

The Co-op in Wareham has supplied many sackfuls of bread, cakes, plants, fruit and veg. I have advertised this on my group so people can request these unsellable items. I set off in my car arranging a pick up time with a young lady working in the Co-op, she then supplies items the Co-op are no longer able to sell, and with the Food bank taking what they need there is more to go around.

I deliver these goods to the doors of people that requested these items.

Many members of my group are posting  requests due to isolating, this would lead to comments from other members, recognising friends, neighbours or volunteers willing to help.

The group provides information on local shops opening and closing days/times, what businesses are providing, takeaways delivery and much more.

A great big 'Thank you' for all the support I've had!

I have been told by many people who I know, and many who I do not, that I should be proud of myself for creating and providing good support to our local people.

I feel proud, but my personality is to help others, and being a good listener has been a help to many elderly locals needing someone to talk to.

This Facebook group, Wareham’s Helping Hands will continue into the future to show our great community spirit, the friendly people we are, to provide any information and help we may need or offer.

I feel privileged to now have a handful of ‘new grandparents’ and many new friends, thanks to the group I created. I hope Wareham locals feel many people are around when at need.

I will continue to help and eventually provide a little more help when required and at a safe time.

I can certainly say this pandemic will be a memorable time in my life, as I’m sure it will be for others.

I would like to say a great big Thank you for all the support I have had within the group, whether it is sharing the group to your Facebook friends, advertising, helping people with comments, shopping, prescription, and your very kind words.

So thank you Wareham.

Danielle Morris

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