When the water in Gloucester was cut off during the 2007 summer floods, big-hearted Tanya Hart’s first thoughts were for her vulnerable elderly neighbours in the Longlevens area. Without any prompting, she embarked on a week-long routine of regular checks and shopping trips, making sure that her neighbours remained safe and comfortable.
“The first thing that occurred to me when the water was cut off was that I had a lot of elderly neighbours who might need some help. So I popped round knocking on their doors and checking they were okay, then went down to the local shops to get them some water, bread and milk if they needed it.
“Since then, I’ve been calling and checking on them every day. There’s about eight neighbours who are vulnerable, but two of them have been very poorly – one recently had a heart operation. They’re always very pleased to see me and I think it’s nice for them to know they have someone who they can depend on.
“Earlier today, when the Red Cross arrived with a huge truckload of bottled water, myself and a neighbour made sure that the volunteers got the supplies to those who needed it most. Over three hours, we helped them to deliver 15 litres to each vulnerable household in the area, and my arms are still aching!
“The Red Cross were smashing – absolutely brilliant. The amount of water they shifted was huge and the food parcels and hygiene kits were really impressive.
“The whole experience has definitely made me think about getting more involved in volunteering. One of my neighbours, a lovely old lady, is so frail that she wouldn’t be able to lift a single large bottle of water by herself. It makes you realise that, in these situations, some vulnerable people really are completely dependent on the goodwill of others for help.”
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