Meet Lockdown volunteer and Travel Counsellor Jane Sedgwick

Corporate Travel Counsellor Jane Sedgwick recently became a volunteer to help vulnerable people in her local community during lockdown. Volunteering

Just before the UK went into lockdown Travel Counsellor Jane Sedgwick, from Brampton in North Cumbria, decided she was going to do something to help her local community through the coronavirus crisis.

She and her husband now volunteer as resilience marshalls for local community group Brampton Acting Together (BAT), delivering food, posting letters and checking in on vulnerable and elderly people in their area.

“When it all kicked off with borders closing and after the initial stress of getting clients home again and the rolling process of rebooking and cancelling holidays, I recognised that my business wouldn’t be the same and I’d have some downtime,” explains Jane.

“I felt I could have more control over the situation by doing something, rather than sitting around worrying about my business,” she adds.

Community Spirit

Jane and her husband are one of around 40 volunteers for BAT, with each looking after a certain area within the market town of Brampton and its surrounding villages. “We now look after our estate and two more roads, which is a total of around 70 houses,” she says.

On the first weekend of volunteering, Jane and her husband donned their high-vis jackets and gloves and did house-to-house calls to establish what people’s requirements were.

“We of course kept our distance. We dropped a contact card in to each house with our phone number so people could get in touch. Eventually we narrowed it down to 15 properties who need help on a regular basis because they are elderly or fall into the high-risk category and are totally self isolating.”

She helps with ad hoc tasks for them, from delivering groceries and going to the post office to visiting the local chemist to collect prescriptions.

“There’s one lady we visit who is 90. She lives alone and is 90% blind. Her son lives 15 miles away so we’ve been doing her shopping for her. She has to take everything out of the cupboard to see the outlines of the items to work out what she needs us to buy for her,” says Jane, who adds that people have been incredibly grateful to the volunteers for their help.

“It’s been a really humbling experience, as these people are relying on the volunteers to get through this and see us as a bit of a lifeline.”

And “getting to know the neighbours better” could even potentially lead to new business once the crisis is over. The experience of volunteering during the crisis has taught Jane to stay positive in these difficult times.

She says: “It’s made me realise I live a privileged life and I’m grateful for that.” Thank you Jane for everything you do!

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