The Welton volunteers keeping their community updated with positive news during the COVID pandemic

Date published: 16 February 2021
Welton News Editor, Dorothy Russell
Dorothy Russell, Editor of Welton News

Letters, chocolates, shopping, prescriptions and even a special snowman delivery are just some of the ways residents of Welton have come together to bring a smile to the people in the local community.

Editor of the Welton News, Dorothy Russell, claims there has been ‘no shortage’ of good news stories as volunteers continue to go above and beyond in the community.

She said: “I get letters from people saying I want to say thank you to the person who did this for me, the person who did that for me. When they asked for volunteers to help those who have been isolating or shielding with shopping and prescriptions and so on, they were inundated. There are a lot of people out there who are willing to help each other.”

The editorial team decided to prioritise and deliver positive and informative news to its communities, which was in plentiful supply. Thanks to the dedicated team of volunteers – including 30 distributors - they were able to keep local residents updated and engaged with each other. 

Dorothy said: “I had one gentleman call to tell me that somebody had left a little package on his doorstep that had three or four chocolates in it, and it turned out that this person had put a little packet of chocolates on every door step on a local street, to cheer people up! It just had a little note on it saying – I hope you’re alright.”

With the recent cold weather snap - two little girls came up with a unique way to make one resident smile.

Dorothy explained: “A lady called me; when we had the snow, she looked out her window and there was two little girls who had built a snowman in front of her house and they were carrying it into her garden. She opened the window and said – is that for me?

“To which they replied – yes it is! And they left a snowman in her front garden – it made her day!”

Dorothy believes that the village of Welton normally possesses this sort of strong community spirit – but the pandemic has made it even more obvious.

“My neighbours certainly have all checked on me to make sure that I’m okay – they’ve asked me if I am alright, and if I need anything, and I think that’s true of every street and close in the village,” added Dorothy.

The Welton News started in 1999 and since then, the “yellow book” has been a constant presence in the community. During a recent survey – which had a response rate of 50% - many residents were overwhelmingly supportive to the idea of a continuing community magazine, as well as a new informative website, to keep them updated with the latest community information.

Dorothy who is a volunteer editor of the newsletter said: “I think it has been, for a lot of people, a way to keep in touch. There’s a volunteer group in Welton and Dunholme that helps people get prescriptions collected or shopping done, organised by the local Parish Councils, and another group that helps drive people to the doctors, run by the Welton Patients’ and Doctors’ Association; that information went on the website. Our paper shop has been brilliant – they’ve stepped up and done extra to help people who have had to isolate or shield since the beginning; their information went on the website."

Normally it’s organisations in the village who write the articles for the magazine. They might talk about classes, such as the Golf Society, or the local Camera Club, but with lockdown, all of those were closed.

Dorothy said the editorial team had to get creative in bringing in the news. She said: “I asked people to tell us stories instead. Over the past few months, we have had completely different articles – photography, fiction, travel writing, poetry – all sorts of general interest! I have tried to keep it as positive and informative as possible for our residents.”

West Lindsey District Councillor Cllr Di Rodgers, who represents Welton and Dunholme said: “This is a clear example of our communities coming together in defiance of the pandemic. We have volunteers working relentlessly from their homes to keep everybody upbeat and engaged, and we have the community getting involved – helping out, sending stories and helping each other.

“It is volunteer groups and a strong community spirit that will get us through this pandemic – and I am proud of how communities in Welton and Dunholme have come together to help each other during this time.”

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