In the first of a series of articles looking at the experiences of some of our members during lockdown, Rowena Harding asks Dot Lomax what has been happening in Miles Platting.

“If you want to find something to do in the community you will find it,” says Miles Platting resident, Dot.

Dot, by her own definition is a resident that does things in the community. She’s a member of one of the first GMS groups to set up – Miles Platting Savers. She is now also using that experience to support Ridgway Street Savers as a committee member. She’s a regular at the community garden and she is also involved in Many Hands Craft Collective, Monday Movers at St Georges Youth and Community Centre, and a new collective of local groups called Miles Platting Community Network.

Dot has been keeping busy during the lockdown, helping to put together food parcels with other Ridgway Street Savers working with Reverend Ellie Trimble at the Parish Church of the Apostles. She’s especially keeping an eye on those who used to come to the Friday coffee morning at the Apostles where the Ridgway Street Savers began. The coffee morning was a place where local residents could enjoy each other’s company, have a laugh and sometimes even a bit of a dance – but people could also take home a few items of food. Now, they lack the company of the gathering and a convenient way to stock up on essentials. Most members are older and have underlying health conditions. Sadly, three members of the group have passed away in recent weeks. “The loss feels bigger somehow”, explains Ellie, “because the group have not been able to honour their lives together and some of them have been meeting up for twenty years or more”.

Dot says she’s lived in the community all her life, and together with Ellie at the Apostles and other volunteers, they have been keeping in touch with as many residents as possible during the pandemic’s lockdown. “We’ve got phone numbers and people know and trust us so they ring if they need anything. Ellie puts letters through the doors and there’s a magazine (from housing association Adactus) that comes through people’s doors.”

But Dot worries about people who don’t reach out for help. “There’s people falling through the net,” she says “More people need support. We are still missing out people who are not coming forward. There is lots of pride and people will say ‘keep it for people who really need it’. How do we get in touch with those people? There are a lot of people struggling.” The Miles Platting Community Network are discussing these questions now to see what more can be done.

Dot assures her 4-year-old granddaughter living across the way that she is doing ok every time she sees her. But Dot knows there are people out there who are not. How to reach those people?

That’s the million-dollar question that’s become even more important now that the pandemic has given people more reason to stay behind closed doors.