An award-winning Whitehill & Bordon partnership more used to encouraging healthy living among residents has widened its work to provide support for people affected by the coronavirus crisis.

The Whitehill & Bordon Healthy New Town Partnership normally works to improve wellbeing and reduce social isolation across the town.

But since the pandemic struck it has transformed itself into the Community Resilience Partnership and worked to support residents affected by the virus.

As part of the partnership’s new work, East Hampshire District Council has redirected £5,000 which had been earmarked for events cancelled as the country went into lockdown. Instead these resources have been used for a range of different initiatives to help residents and local volunteer groups combat coronavirus.

Some of the funding has been directed to the Bordon Foodbank. Prior to the outbreak the foodbank was delivering around 130 food parcels a week to vulnerable families. The extra funding has meant that the Whitehill & Bordon Community Trust and the Whitehill & Bordon Town Partnership have been able to deliver additional food to the foodbank helping it meet the surge in demand and provide around 540 food parcels on a weekly basis.

Money was also used to support Radian’s Hot Meal Project at Café 1759. The community-focused café is providing delicious, healthy, hot food to those in need during this crisis, including 54 hot meals per day to children from low income families from three local primary schools and one pre-school.

Since mid-April Café 1759 has produced more than 1,500 children’s meals, helping out around 45 local families. The project will continue until the Summer term finishes in mid-July, delivering another 700 meals.

Whitehill Town Council has also played a key role in the community response to coronavirus and has set aside £1,000 to support local groups looking out for vulnerable people during the pandemic.

Cllr Richard Millard, EHDC Leader, said: “It is incredible how everyone has come together to support each other during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Volunteers and community organisations have been working alongside the Whitehill & Bordon Healthy New Town Partnership to make sure everyone gets the help they need during the crisis.

“Of course it is a shame that many public events have been called off over the last few months, but it is great to see how the resources have been swiftly re-directed to the places and people that need it most.

“This goes to show how the strength and success of a collaborative approach can pay dividends to a community in a crisis.”

Cllr Andy Tree, Leader of Whitehill Town Council, said: “Thank you from my heart to all our local volunteers such as ‘Bordon Buddies’, organisations, doctors, nurses, other NHS staff and key workers. We would not have been able to get through this crisis without them and the dedication they have to help others. It makes me very proud to belong to the Whitehill, Bordon and Lindford community.”

Ralph Facey, Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships & Projects at Radian Group, said: “We are pleased to be working closely with our partners to ensure families receive the support they need during this challenging time. Café 1759 has been a great resource during this period.

“The meals we have provided during this time have been possible with support from colleagues at East Hampshire District Council and their Healthy New Towns Partnership and we are proud to be working alongside them to support as many people as possible.”

The Community Resilience Partnership consists of the EHDC Healthy New Town Partners including Radian, Whitehill & Bordon Community Trust, Whitehill & Bordon Regeneration Company, Community First, Woolmer Forest Timebank, Whitehill & Bordon Town Partnership and MHA Communities, plus Whitehill & Bordon Community Association, CAB and Whitehill Town Council.

Community partnerships providing support through coronavirus outbreak