Coronavirus – the social shutdown begins in Abingdon

March 17, 2020

The day after the PM told the nation to avoid unnecessary contact and travel, and to stay away from pubs and theatres, the social activity shutdown has begun.

Most of the churches in Abingdon will be closed next Sunday.  The Methodist church said ‘It is with sadness that we recommend that worship services in Methodist Churches are suspended for the time being in line  with Government guidance.’ The Archbishops of Canterbury and York are also calling for Church of England churches to put public worship on hold  and become a ‘different sort of church’.
the social shutdown
At Preston Road Community Centre we met tonight and decided that this evening’s Bingo would be the last for a while. This did mean giving the Easter egg prizes away in one go rather than between now and Easter. But to compensate for that the Preston Road Jackpot of £200 will be won this evening.

A lot of the groups meeting at the community centre have already decided to stop meeting. That includes U3A, and the twinning society. The food bank will continue to operate but with social distancing measures.

The VWHDC (Vale of White Horse District Council) have announced the closure of:

  • Community-based leisure events and activities at their arts centres involving older and vulnerable people
  • All formal council meetings until the end of March have been postponed 

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The voluntary sector is very dependent on retired volunteers, many over seventy.

Oxfam cannot handle new donations because of reduced volunteers, and are likely not to open from tomorrow because they have not enough staff.
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British Heart Foundation cannot handle donations for similar reasons. They will also have closures when they do not have enough volunteers.

The town centre was busy on Monday with the Market in town. It was quieter today, Tuesday, but people were still stocking up on essentials. Items running low included: eggs, flour, pasta, long life milk, disinfectant, toilet rolls, paracetamol, tinned fruit and tinned vegetables. Waitrose got a delivery of toilet rolls but it was gone in 44 minutes. A similar thing happened at Savers.
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Chemists have run out of hand sanitisers and face masks.
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The two town centre surgeries are checking people before they go into the waiting room to ensure they do not have a fever or any symptoms.

The roads were quiet with people from Miele and other Abingdon companies increasingly working from home from today.

Filed under: community groups

17 Comments Leave a Comment

  • 1. Daniel  |  March 17, 2020 at 10:48 pm

    Just curious, what’s the connection referred to on the orange sign between, a national shortage of NHS medicine and contacting our MP?

    I assume it is related to the virus…but how so?

  • 2. Sarah  |  March 17, 2020 at 11:13 pm

    How about the churches having open air services in the park?

  • 3. PPJS  |  March 18, 2020 at 6:16 am

    I agree, Daniel; it seems an odd choice of comment to make.

    Perhaps the churches could join together (surely not!) at the site of the great Abbey and hold combined events.

  • 4. Chris John  |  March 18, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Costa coffee was still packed with people. It seems social distancing doesn’t apply to all the smokers sitting outside puffing away. Very selfish

  • 5. Janet  |  March 18, 2020 at 10:32 am

    According to the Oxford Mail there has been a confirmed corona virus case of a postal worker in Abingdon sorting office. They said the sorting office has been deep cleaned. People are finding that they order groceries on-lin and cannot get a delivery slot for 3 to 4 weeks.

  • 6. ChrisS  |  March 18, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    We returned last week from a heavily infected area. We are self-isolating for 2 weeks. I am unable to get my prescription delivered as no Abingdon pharmacies are taking on new deliveries.

    Up the road there are lots of soldiers. Couldn’t half a dozen of them, with staff cars, be attached to local pharmacies to help ?

  • 7. Hester  |  March 18, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Chris S – a group of volunteers has been set up to help get things to people who are self-isolating and don’t have their own support network. They are about to leaflet every house in Abingdon with details of who to contact for help. If you need help more urgently than that please post on here again, with some contact details and I am sure one of us will be able to organise something for you.

  • 8. Iain  |  March 18, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    ChrisS – if you’re still struggling for your prescription and assuming you’re in Abingdon, drop me a note with your details via backstreeter and I’ll pick it up and drop it over

  • 9. ChrisS  |  March 18, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    Iain, what a star ! Thank you so much for your generous offer. Since I wrote I’ve been in contact with Reynold’s Pharmacy in Gainsborough Green and the wonderful lady there, whose can-do/ no problem approach was a real tonic, is going to add me to her very last deliveries.

    I was feeling quite low but you and her have restored me. Thanks again.

  • 10. Iain  |  March 18, 2020 at 3:22 pm

    No problem – glad you’re sorted Chris. I’m sure many of us are going to be going through some form of isolation over the coming weeks and months, and am equally confident that in a close knit community like Abingdon we’ll all pull together to support each other.

  • 11. Daniel  |  March 18, 2020 at 4:07 pm

    Iain, you is a Chap wot nose stuff… there any kind of list or coordination for kind offers of help such as yours? I would be happy to be on such a list, if there were? I am currently healthy and happy to help those who can’t get out…

    I am happy (via backstreet, who no doubt already has a lot on) to have my email passed on…

    (Caldecott Road area).

  • 12. Iain  |  March 18, 2020 at 4:37 pm

    Hi Daniel

    In my immediate area there is a mini scheme being set up in conversation with our residents association, and i suspect there will be other similar groups dotted around the town.

    I did a quick online search and there seems to have been a facebook group set up. I’m not on facebook so I cant investigate further but it looks like the sort of thing you ate after. Here’s the link….

  • 13. Daniel  |  March 18, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    Ok, thank you (alas, I am not on Facebook either) bit will see what I can do…

  • 14. Iain  |  March 18, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    I see Helen Pighills, Neil Fawcett and Angela Lawrence who post on here sometimes are involved so if they see this thread, perhaps they could share details of best way to get involved (particularly for those of us without FB)

  • 15. ChrisS  |  March 18, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    Well done all of you. You are going to be life lines for the isolated elderly and infirm.

    I still wonder if the Army could help however ? From phoning all the pharmacies this morning it looks like deliveries might end anyway but they are certainly over- burdened. Ditto online food orders are booked for some time in advance.

    A few young squaddies and cars could make a huge difference and, since food orders could be made up in advance, via Click and Collect and left on doorsteps or pharmacy orders left ready by the firm and put through the receipient’s post box, they need not come into contact with anyone and put themselves at risk.

  • 16. rudi  |  March 18, 2020 at 6:20 pm

    something like this brings out the best and worst in people – we see the best above, then you see the lunatics who think if they get the virus they will need 3 years worth of toilet paper.

    if we all become obsessive over washing our hands and not getting within 2 metres of anyone not living in your home it WILL make a real difference

  • 17. Rosie  |  March 18, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    The poster about medicine shortages was sent out to Pharmacies last year. It’s more to do with Brexit than Covid-19. There have been medicine shortages for a long time.
    What will happen to the Friendly Bench in the Square?

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