When the ‘Beast from the East’ struck the UK last year, our Devon riverside town of Dartmouth was more equipped than many to help residents cut off due to the freezing weather conditions.
They weren’t blessed with extraordinary amounts of equipment or finances, they held the greatest currency there is: people power.
“Wind, rain, sunshine or rainbows there is always a warm welcome and a cuppa waiting at Dartmouth Community Chest. Our most senior and our youngest volunteers sharing a little rainbow.”
Dartmouth is home to a team of volunteers that really don’t seem to have any limit to their dedication to their community.
The Dartmouth Community Chest (DCC) lobby for local causes; they help families find, move and furnish homes; help provide school uniform and personal hygiene products, they deliver emergency food, clothes and baby items; hold endless fund-raising events; and have a warm, welcoming place with hot food, that hosts fun and wellbeing activities for locals.
Our volunteers hug people through the worst times, laugh with them through the best, wipe tears away and listen for hours to the lovely people we meet going through tough times that they absolutely don’t deserve.
In the winter months, their work goes further still- providing help, support and signposting as well as topping up fuel-cards for those experiencing high utility bills. They’ve worked with the fire service to make sure people’s homes are safe whilst they are trying to keep them warm, and they’ve worked with local housing agencies to ensure residents are living in homes that have the capacity to keep them warm and safe.
And their drive to help wasn’t thwarted when many towns and villages in Devon were under thick snow last winter either. The DCC volunteers walked through the bad weather to get to those in need, and they even called upon a local farmer and his tractor to get them to the remote areas.
A local man had trouble keeping his electricity on to keep his insulin in the fridge. We topped up his card and delivered food parcels so he could eat properly. Before this service a few years ago a local man died alone in his flat because he couldn’t store his insulin and we are dedicated to making sure this never happens again.
This kind of community spirit is what the Devon Community Foundation is all about and we are pleased we have been able to contribute, if in monetary value only, to the amazing work being done by Dartmouth Community Chest.
In December last year we were able to gift just under £2,000 from our Surviving Winter Appeal to help support the fuel poverty work being done by Dartmouth Community Chest.
Surviving Winter relies on the generosity of individuals, some of whom choose to forfeit their winter fuel allowance to donate.
To find out how you can help vulnerable people survive winter this year, please click here.
To read other funding stories please click here.