Back in March, Chris Mullis put together a group on Facebook to support local residents during the Corona Virus outbreak and so far it has over 2,000 members! We wanted to do a little Q & A with him and also we personally wanted to give him some recognition and to thank him for all of his efforts for putting this group together and managing it. To join the group simply search for ‘Buckingham Support Network’ on Facebook.
Hi Chris! Thank you so much for doing this Q & A for our readers!
If you don’t mind, will you tell us a bit about you? What do you do for a living and where do you live?
I am the Client Refund Manager for Bettertax, we specialise in Tax Returns and Refunds. I live in Buckingham and have done for the last 23 years. My grandparents and parents have been here all their lives.
What made you put together the group in the first place?
I saw an idea being put around on a comment thread on one of the national newspapers online and thought that Buckingham might benefit from a Support group if things did move along to a ‘Lockdown’. I’m pleased to say that I was correct.
How many people do you and your network help each week?
The numbers at this stage are hard to tell because people are now going direct to those that have helped them previously so no longer come directly to me for assistance I still have around 5-10 individuals or couples that call me on a weekly basis and request assistance.
What are the most popular requests?
Prescriptions. The people that were and in some cases still are shielding are the ones that need medication to get by so that is the most prominent request.
What have you had to do for vulnerable residents?
We’ve cut grass, collected shopping, collected prescriptions, fed a tortoise, lent an ear, given people company and also pointed people in the direction of the amazing Emergency Food Bank.
Do you have a list of people who are available to help? If so, who are they?
There is a list pinned to the top of the Support Network Facebook page. This is a list of numbers and the street they live on for people to call directly if they are close to them. The amount of active volunteers has gone down as people return to work etc but those that continue to be there for the Network and I know who they are and I am grateful to those people.
Is your group just for Buckingham Residents only?
Simply put, no. We have helped people in Gawcott, Steeple Claydon and as far out as Little Horwood.
Will you keep the group going for as long as the Corona Virus is here?
Yes and once Covid has gone completely I would like to think that people can turn to the group for Support beyond the virus. The sense of community really came to the forefront once the outbreak took hold and that is something I would love to see continue as a normality.
Do you need any more volunteers?
We are always looking for help when it is needed, requests go up on the Facebook page and its a first come, first help system. If you can do it comment and let me know.
Is there anything else you want to tell us about the group? J
Just to thank everyone for their kind words to me about the group. I didn’t set out for any personal recognition, I just wanted to bridge a gap between those in need and those that can help. We have achieved that and that is something we as a community should be proud of. Finally once more a huge thankyou to the volunteers still picking up prescriptions and everything else that comes with what we are doing here. It wouldn’t work without that small band of people.