When the coronavirus pandemic first began to grip the nation, residents in Potterne held an emergency meeting in the George and Dragon pub.

Like-minded locals came together at 12 o’clock for a debrief to discuss how to be best served to support the community.

Within hours, leaflets have been created then distributed across Potterne alerting people of the help on hand. The George and Dragon pub also quickly formed a takeaway menu.

By the time lockdown restrictions had been imposed, there was already a small army of volunteers ready to respond by running essential errands, picking up prescriptions and offering a listening ear on phone calls.

Upwards of 50 volunteers worked tirelessly to support their elderly and vulnerable neighbours.

Now, the Potterne Good Neighbours have once again sprung into action to offer care and support.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald:

A Whatsapp group helps co-ordinate where help is needed and gets a relevant volunteer or ‘buddy’ to respond.

Louise Watson, of the George and Dragon, said: “We started Good Neighbours alongside the vicar to begin with, and we were up and running straight away in the first week of lockdown.

“We had a food scheme for everyone over the age of 65 from Monday to Sundays, and gave out about 500 meals to the community.

“As well as picking up prescriptions and doing things like dog walks, there’s also calls to help support people who might be facing social isolation. Even after the first lockdown lifted, we still wanted to offer that extra support.”

Previously, the Potterne Good Neighbours group also set up as a referral agency to the Devizes Food Bank, and handed out vouchers available for those in need.

The volunteers want to continue to help the growing numbers self isolating or shielding - and hope this kind of care can continue well after this lockdown lifts.

Sarah Leckie, church administrator at St Mary's, added: “We supported over 100 people in the first lockdown, and now we’re getting plenty of calls every day of people still looking for help. We allocate volunteers to people in a sort of buddy system.”

Rev Bridewell of the Wellsprings Benefice, which includes St Mary's, added: "We want to keep this level of support in the community well after lockdown.”

Anna Cuthbert, Bromham, Rowde and Potterne councillor, is also part of Potterne Good Neighbours, and spoke of her pride at the response of the wider community.

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Potterne Good NeighboursPotterne Good Neighbours

She said: "The number of hours these volunteers have put in is amazing. Potterne is shaped by the school, pub and church community – and all those people have really come together.

"The response has been fantastic and proves such a caring community this is."

If you need shopping and medicine to be collected, help with essential errands or a friendly phone call then please contact the Potterne Good Neighbours.