To the east of Retford, there has been an impressive outpouring of volunteer support during the lockdown. A specific network known as ‘Clay Responders’ was set-up with the support of North and South Wheatley, Sturton Le Steeple and North Leverton with Habblesthorpe Parish Councils.Clay Responders has more than 125 volunteers in total, doing a range of things from delivery services for food and medicines to running a local food bank from a central hub. It has also established a swap-shop for local residents to share books, games, plants and other resources – while maintaining social distance at all times, of course!
At the start of the pandemic, the network was given a grant by Nottinghamshire County Council. This enabled the printing and distribution of several leaflets with information about seeking support during lockdown, being aware of scams and promoting a directory of local businesses which were operating throughout lockdown.
One of the groups’ most popular initiatives was ‘Plant with love’ which saw over 3,000 sunflower seeds being distributed across the villages for sowing. The group’s Facebook page – which has almost 400 members – now features constant debate about the best way to feed and grow sunflowers!
The villages also organised a co-ordinated ‘stay at home’ VE Day party which was enjoyed by the masses from their front gardens. The Clay Responder team organised a celebratory bake-off competition with entries being posted in a variety of categories by all age groups. There was also a ‘red, white and blue’ fancy dress competition which saw some spectacular entries.
District Councillor James Naish said: “It’s been humbling to see local residents work together to support one another during lockdown. Our local businesses have been a lifeline during this time, so a massive thanks needs to go to them. Please don’t forget to support these businesses after life returns to normal.”