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Key Worker Heroes - Royston Covid Response Group

The article below was taken from the Glasgow Times website on 28/05/2020, link here.

During this time, there are so many families putting in extra effort to help their communities.

Today we are celebrating a unique group: husband and wife Tracey and Billy Blair, and friend Geraldine Burgess.

Nominated by Gillian Spence at Spireview Housing, all three have made a fantastic contribution in the form of the Royston Coronavirus Response Group, where they donate around two hundred and fifteen hot meals per week.

In typical Glaswegian style, Geraldine, 49, and Tracey, 50, both Housing Sustainment Officers who also work with the Simon Community, pulled together to co-ordinate a massive effort that has benefitted so many in their local community.

Geraldine, who lives in Stepps, told The Glasgow Times they began acting as far back as March, when their office closed.

She said: "Simon Community have the contract for tenancy support out of Copperworks Spireview in Blochairn, and I support people in Codder and Hawthorne in Possilpark.

"Those offices closed early on in lock down.

"Tenancy support can do phone calls but its not a working from home service, supporting people. We had to think of another way in which we could help.

" From day one I asked the director to base us in the hub.

"It came to the point that all associations were needing to be based somewhere.

"I started attending the corona group in this area, and that is how I got my colleague Tracey on board."

"Our director put in for lottery funding and they needed someone to coordinate it at the meetings. I looked at Tracey and thought, 'we'll do it'."

Geraldine and Tracey took upon themselves the huge responsibility of co-ordinating funds, splitting up the amount to make sure it would last as long as possible to support their service users, and bringing in volunteers to help - people like Billy.

Geraldine added: "It's a great community spirit in the Royston area."

Tracey now works alongside husband Billy, who has been spending his time since being furloughed splitting food donations to make food parcels, and delivering them to those who need it.

The two, from Riddrie, have been described as "fantastic support".

Tracey told The Glasgow Times: "Billy was furloughed and it all felt out the blue.

"He wanted to do his bit for the community as well.

"It made sense he came and helped out here while I was here.

"We have been doing 215 food parcels per week, and delivering hot meals per day to our most vulnerable tenants.

"We actually thought it would be great if we could find one hundred vulnerable people who would need it at the start.

"After setting that target, the number spiralled and then almost doubled.

"There are a lot out there who are struggling and self isolating or who are alone and they just need a bit of help.

"The lottery funds were amazing help, as was the funding from the Government, and now our only challenge is to make sure it lasts.

"We have been trying to make the money last as long as we can, so we've been shopping around to get stuff the best that it can be.

"Right now we have another 10 weeks of funding planned, and it should last then to keep serving people and delivering food parcels and try to help people with what they need.

"It's all just one massive effort but the community we live in is amazing."