FRA presents community awards

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The FRA has presented Community Awards to recognise two individuals who have made outstanding local contributions since the start of the Covid crisis.

The presentation was made in the village last month by our Chairman Tim Waller (centre) to Tyrone Patterson (left) and to Paul Barker (right).

Both award winners were presented with framed prints featuring images of Fetcham village from the Francis Frith archive collection.

Last March, Paul Barker, of Cannon Grove, founded Community Coronavirus  Care. In a matter of weeks it drew in dozens of volunteers who were able to deliver badly needed help to some of the most vulnerable people in our community.

CCC is based on a helpline (0800 3077111) which is still very much in operation, with volunteers carrying out everyday tasks, or simply giving some time to talk to people feeling isolated by the pandemic.

Tyrone Patterson is proprietor of Greenwise, the independent greengrocer and café in Fetcham village. He began delivering fresh food boxes in the village and his store became a lifeline for many people who were unable , or too fearful, to shop at the big supermarkets.

“It’s been challenging,” says Tyrone. “ We needed to meet demand,  people were stuck at home and needed the basics. But we now have a thriving online business which we didn’t have before.”

Paul Barker says he was first inspired to offer help locally in the aftermath of Storm Dennis which struck in mid-February and caused much disruption. He assisted an elderly resident who had answered his offer of help on Facebook.

“It was such a good feeling helping people.  When Covid came along I thought let’s do more of this.”

But Paul never imagined that Community Coronavirus Care would take off in the way it did.  At its peak volunteers were doing hundreds of small jobs a week, from shopping, collecting prescriptions, to dog walking.

Paul has now stepped back from CCC, but is still volunteering with Mid Surrey Community Fridges.  This is a charity which distributes surplus food, often from supermarkets, to those in need across Mole Valley. 

FRA Chairman Tim Waller said a Community Award was not necessarily made every year.

"However, this year has been exceptional and both Paul and Tyrone have given tremendous service to the village, and we thank them for it," he said.

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