Elisabeth Uggerløse is the parish clerk for Bidford-on-Avon Parish Council, and has seen how the village has coped with the severe challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.
She explains how the village’s strong sense of community shone through during lockdown, and how Bidford is carefully reopening and welcoming business once again.
“Like all sorts of villages and small towns, the people and businesses of Bidford found it difficult during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many of our shops and businesses had to shut completely, while some had to operate either a limited service or at reduced capacity.
“Despite these challenges, what was amazing during lockdown was the incredible community spirit the village showed in helping its most vulnerable residents.
“We have an aging population in Bidford, meaning there are plenty of people here who were at much greater risk if they were to become infected with COVID-19.
“As many people will have no doubt experienced, getting a convenient time slot for a grocery delivery was extremely difficult when the lockdown was at its peak.
“So, it was wonderful to see how many volunteers from Bidford stepped up to solve this problem for those who needed the most help.
“They took grocery orders from vulnerable residents, went to Budgens to pick up their shopping, and delivered it to their door while obeying social distancing.
“Over the course of 18 weeks, the town’s volunteers made around 2,500 deliveries, which is testament to the community spirit of Bidford.
“Additionally, one of the village’s pubs, The Frog, would offer a takeaway service on Tuesdays and gave meals away for free to vulnerable residents too.
“Bidford’s businesses have also lent each other a helping hand through the Bidford-on-Avon Business Forum on Facebook – an example of social media playing a positive role.
“As a parish council, we will do as much as we can to help our many organisations in Bidford, such as our sports clubs and voluntary groups. A high number of these organisations would have made a lot of their money in the spring and early summer when everything was closed.
“Now, things are cautiously starting to reopen in Bidford. A fair number of people are still a little bit nervous about coming out again and spending their money, but we would encourage people to do so if they feel confident enough.
“It’s not just our shops and pubs either. We are hoping to open our playgrounds again very soon, and an outdoor theatre performance from a local amateur dramatics group will be coming to Big Meadow.
“The high street was struggling a little bit before COVID-19 hit us, but this crisis has shown us how important it is to support one another.
“Now things are slowly starting to get back to normal, it is time for Bidford’s residents and its visitors to support the village even more by shopping locally while taking care at the same time.
“It’s not going to be easy, but the village banded together during lockdown, so Bidford needs to band together again as it comes out of it.”