WITH little fuss or fanfare, town and community councils have been shouldering some of the strain of the coronavirus emergency.
Volunteer networks have been cobbled together, leaflets printed, donations made to food banks and, in one case, a marquee erected outside a surgery and pharmacy to keep queueing patients dry.
And now some of these councils have received formal recognition from Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan, Louise Fleet.
In a letter addressed to Clydach Community Council chairman Matthew Bailey, Mrs Fleet said she wanted to pay a particular tribute to what was taking place locally.
She thanked the council for coordinating “the incredible volunteer effort” in the area, and also praised the local business community.
“Those queueing for the medical centre and pharmacy must very much appreciate the marquee you have erected and I’m sure those receiving regular meals are very grateful to you,” said the letter.
“What you are all doing in Clydach is a wonderful example of everyone working in partnership to deliver an impressive range of support: thank you so much.”
Mrs Fleet asked Mr Bailey to pass on her thanks to all involved, and the letter is now on the community council’s Facebook page.
Mr Bailey said: “It’s lovely to get recognition, and it’s nicer for the volunteers.
“They have been a massive, massive help.”
The community council has donated £500 to the local food bank, and carried out disclosure and barring service checks on the volunteers.
It has also liaised with shops to take card payments over the phone when volunteers pick up food for vulnerable residents.
Community councillors are taking turns to man a new hotline, and are working with Swansea Council local area coordinators and also police and community support officers.
Mr Bailey, who manages care homes for adults with learning disabilities, said little touches went a long way.
“The son of a couple in their 90s lives in Liverpool, and he got in touch to say they’d like an OK! magazine,” he said.
Clydach, he said, had always been a close-knit place.
“When the chips are down in Clydach, people really come together,” he said.
Llwchwr Town Council, Gorseinon Town Council and Grovesend and Waungron Community Council have donated a combined £2,500 to a new food hub.
It was set up after an existing one shut down temporarily, and it is being run by county councillors such as Kelly Roberts.
Cllr Roberts, who also serves on Llwchwr Town Council, said 138 volunteers have been providing support.
“We’ve put out 9,000 leaflets, and delivered 3,000 prescriptions,” she said.
Cllr Roberts said the Lord Lieutenant of West Glamorgan had also recognised their work.
“We’ve printed the letter and given it to all the volunteers,” she said.
Mumbles Community Council has also assembled a large volunteer network, including dog walkers, and has dedicated the homepage of its website to the various services being offered.
Pontarddulais Town Council is making donations to Pontarddulais Partnership, which is coordinating the local Covid-19 response.
And Pennard Community Council, Gower, has 75 volunteers who help the 150 people in the area who have been classed as vulnerable.
Community councillor Lynda James said it was looking to deploy two external grants to help people in need.
She said the efforts of all involved had brought people in Pennard and Kittle closer together.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “People are talking to each other more.
“When they’re out walking, you shout ‘hello’ across the gate.”
She added: “There’s so much help out there.”