The COVID-19 pandemic may have caused a nationwide crisis but, amid the chaos, something wonderful has happened. Communities have come together for the greater good, and nowhere more so than right here in our own beloved Bramhall.
We’re known for our community spirit and famous for our friendliness, so perhaps it’s little wonder that during this time of crisis, the Bramhall community has rallied together to support those most in need.
Our little village has kept calm and carried on in the ‘new normal’, celebrating special times, raising money for good causes and joining together to create support networks. Through these community-led initiatives, we’ve become stronger – together.
Here are just some of the ways in which our community has come together against COVID; if you’ve got a story to share, just get in touch – we’d love to hear more!
Shortly after news of the COVID-19 coronavirus broke, members of the Bramhall community set up the Helping Hands Bramhall Facebook group – a support network of caring members of the community who wanted to volunteer their help in a variety of ways.
More than 300 volunteers have been working throughout the pandemic to assist people in need – both practically and emotionally – by running errands and making friendly phone calls to check in. From shopping for the vulnerable to picking up prescriptions, Helping Hands supports the community in every way possible.
Of course, our Founder Wendy is a member, and we’ve even been joined by local big-hearted celebrity Jason Manford, who has been running errands for the vulnerable and singing on people’s doorsteps to spread a little cheer!
Most of us were advised to stay at home over the last few months and we’ve been very aware that our key workers haven’t had the luxury of choice, putting their own health on the line for the greater good.
We’ve been keen, as a community, to express our gratitude. Many households have created rainbows to display in their windows as a small token of thanks to the healthcare workers who risk their own lives for ours, and we’ve been out to Clap for Carers on a Thursday evening in a gesture of solidarity.
A couple of our local seamstresses have used their talents to give back, too – Sue Day of Modiste has been crafting scrubs for healthcare workers and Jasmina Bokic of Jazzy Designs has been making and selling face masks, donating 100 per cent of the profits to St Ann’s.
Every year we remember the sacrifice made by our veterans by marking VE Day with some special celebrations, and we weren’t going to let COVID put an end to that in 2020.
Throughout our neighbourhoods, flags were flying and bunting stretched from house to house as Bramhall and Cheadle Hulme brought the celebrations outside. Many residents set up tables in their front gardens to enjoy socially distanced celebratory snacks and neighbours chatted over walls and on doorsteps, spreading some much-needed community spirit.
The day concluded after the Queen’s address with a street sing-along of We’ll Meet Again, which was understandably an emotional moment we’ll always treasure.
Unable to enjoy a Saturday night out given the current situation, many of our residents were over the moon when Bramhall local and DJ Dave ‘DoubleDecks’ Hird decided to host a series of window discos in aid of our local food bank, Chelwood.
Dave took to his decks over six Saturday nights, delighting party animals during this difficult period of withdrawal from their usual Saturday night celebrations, and raising a staggering £4,500 in the process!
Everything from themed 80s nights to classic floor fillers had our toes tapping, providing a more than welcome distraction in these challenging times. We’re delighted to have supported Dave in his work for such a vital cause – donations can still be made over at the JustGiving page.
In the early days of lockdown, when the sun was blazing and visits outdoors were limited to essential trips, many of our residents made the most of a unique opportunity when Bramall Park Golf Club opened its course to walkers taking their daily exercise.
The course had to close to golfers under lockdown restrictions but the big-hearted staff decided to grant residents access to the green, enabling us to enjoy the scenic surroundings in the sunshine on our daily walks!
Having only recently re-opened, the sadly club can’t hold its usual annual golf charity day, which last year raised £20,000 for St Ann’s Hospice. This year would have marked the 30th instalment of the golf charity day, and the club is asking anyone who enjoyed their walks on the green to consider supporting the cause in a different way.
Rather than holding the usual celebrations, Bramall Park Golf Club have set up a fundraising page for the Heald Green-based hospice. As well as offering end-of-life care, the hospice’s community nurses help many of our residents by caring for people in their own homes. If you can, please show your appreciation for this vital service – and for the golf club’s special gesture – by making a donation via the fundraising page.
At the start of the COVID crisis, the majority of our local businesses and organisations were forced to close their doors to prevent the spread of infection, and many are only just cautiously re-opening now, three months down the line.
With others not due to open up again until July, businesses and community groups have had to become resourceful in how they operate.
Many restaurants and cafes have moved to takeaway-only services, including local favourites Romulus, Plumcake, Chilli Banana and Marjoes, while stores like Caro and Arnouts have set up sanitiser stations and reduced the number of customers who can be in the shop at any one time.
Churches have adapted to the new normal by streaming services and daily reflections online, while many other organisations and businesses are continuing to operate remotely, with staff working from home.
The virus has been at the forefront of everyone’s minds recently and I Love Bramhall and I Love Cheadle Hulme have endeavoured to make sure that our vital causes aren’t forgotten about – with the help of some very famous faces.
Our founder Wendy along with a team of volunteers including Julie Widdowson have been heading out into our streets to make weekly distanced collections of food, toiletries and donations for Chelwood Food Bank, with the help of Spiderman, Batman, Mr Incredible and friends.
In total, our helpful hero collections have raised around £7,500 for the food bank – which really is INCREDIBLE!
Over the last few months, many of us have celebrated lockdown birthdays (including our very own Wendy who turned 50 five days after lockdown!) which have been very different from previous celebrations. With all the restaurants and bars closed and public gatherings banned, we’ve had to be more resourceful in marking these special occasions.
From takeout picnics to Zoom parties, people have found new and innovative ways to celebrate at home, and I Love Bramhall was lucky enough to assist with a very special celebration for one of our residents, Bernard Burgess.
Bernard has been a long-time helper with the Friends of Lumb Lane Park and is much-loved in the community, so we decided to surprise him with a singalong to mark his 84th birthday! Neighbours sang from their windows and stood in the street for the Happy Birthday serenade, which even made the BBC News! Watch the heart-warming moment captured on film here.
Nobody knows how long the pandemic will last, nor how soon life can return to how it was pre-COVID19, but one thing’s for sure: the Bramhall community spirit is as strong as it ever was – if not MORE so.
As a community, we will continue coming together against COVID – I Love Bramhall is here to support you, so don’t hesitate to get in touch with us directly or visit the Helping Hands Facebook group with requests!