Positive spirit in and out of lockdown in Sleaford-area community

A group set up to support villagers near Sleaford during the coronavirus pandemic continues to make a positive impact in the community.

A scene from the Christmas dinner.
A scene from the Christmas dinner.

MATES (Martin and Timberland Emergency Support) was started in March 2020 in response to Covid-19.

Members helped residents in Martin and Timberland stay at home by doing their shopping and collecting their prescriptions for them. However, outside of lockdown, the group has remained active in the community.

“We had managed to gather together a really committed and enthusiastic group of volunteers and didn’t want to lose momentum, so we looked around for other things to do,” Lindsay Fulton, from the group, said.

The hampers.

A food bank delivery service was one such initiative, held in collaboration with Lincoln Community 

Later, in August, members organised a free fete to bring the community together.

Proceeds from the day – which was supported by local parish councils, Mrs Mary King’s School, Timtin Playgroup, Dyson Farming, Martin Village Hall and Majestic Crystal – helped pay for three more community events: a free disco for local primary schoolchildren, a free three-course Christmas dinner for residents; and 16 hampers for local families identified by Mrs Mary King’s School, which included basic groceries, festive goodies, a Tesco voucher and a present for each child.

Lindsay continued: “MATES has always been supported by the residents of Martin and Timberland and we’ve received many donations of food items and cash since we started. Most recently, we received an astonishing £575 from local residents Martin and Elaine Quigley, which we used towards the 16 hampers and Christmas presents for the children. John Webber, from Bluebird , presented us with £200 towards the cost of the Christmas dinner, which meant we were able to add loads of extras for everybody who came and enjoyed the meal.”

The MATES admin team is made up of Lindsay, plus Clare Pearson, Nicky Wilkes, Vic Evans, Brenda Crouch, Julie Atkinson, Andy Wilkes, Ady Crowson and Katherine Baker (former member). Partners, children, neighbours and friends get roped in from time to time to lend a hand, Lindsay added.

“MATES has created a wonderful group of volunteers with a fantastic community spirit and it is our intention to adapt and find ways to be useful and relevant even after the coronavirus and all its variants have been conquered,” she said. “In the meantime, we haven’t forgotten our core purpose and are on standby to help out anybody who is ill or isolating in the weeks ahead.”