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Indie's HELP campaign steps in to help desperate single mum of two with internet bills

A desperate mum found her saviours via the Indie after our HELP campaign paid for her internet service to make sure her two children can continue with homeschooling.

An SOS went out to the Operation CommUNITY lifeline scheme from a woman who had lost her job and could not afford her monthly internet bill.

Our HELP (Here to Ease Lockdown Pain) campaign stepped in and we have paid her January, February and March bills, along with a late payment excess.

HELP Here to Ease Lockdown Pain (44436136)
HELP Here to Ease Lockdown Pain (44436136)

The campaign was launched earlier this month. Money donated online by readers to our Justgiving page is being used to support people who are really struggling in these difficult times.

Our aim was to turn tears of despair into tears of happiness, and with the help of Operation CommUNITY, which is manning a phone line for referrals, several people have been supported.

Our first guardian angel was a reader in Bishop’s Stortford who offered to buy a laptop for a child in need. After Indie editor Paul Winspear was made aware of a jobless single mum who was struggling to enable her child to access online teaching, we matched them up.

Norma Symonds praised the Indie's HELP campaign as "fantastic"Pic: Vikki Lince. (44436303)
Norma Symonds praised the Indie's HELP campaign as "fantastic"Pic: Vikki Lince. (44436303)

And this week, East Herts district councillor, Stortford town councillor and former mayor Norma Symonds was able to provide a new microwave oven through the HELP campaign for a Sawbridgeworth woman whose old one had broken, meaning she had no cooking facilities.

Norma, who is the council’s homelessness champion, praised the Indie’s campaign, saying it was a “fantastic” initiative.

“It’s very useful, it’s fantastic,” she said. Norma was also in awe of the way the community had rallied round during the pandemic and the services provided by Operation CommUNITY.

“The community has been utterly fantastic – I’ve never seen anything like it,” she said.

Operation Community logo (44436074)
Operation Community logo (44436074)

Norma revealed she had been suffering from Covid since Christmas and said friends and neighbours had been helping her, delivering food and essentials.

“It’s such a privilege to live in Bishop’s Stortford,” she added.

Our HELP campaign fund is now at £3,195 and Operation CommUNITY volunteers are standing by to help any other worthy causes.

Age Concern Bishop’s Stortford manager Zara Skidmore, who launched Operation CommUNITY in conjunction with a network of care organisations, said there was a need for all kinds of items which did not fall into the services provided.

“We provided clothes and bedding through adult care services for a lady who was flooded out,” she said.

Zara added they had a new commode and side table donated and the next day they were able to give the items to two people.

If you know of someone in need of HELP, call 01279 942100. To donate to the fund, see www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stortfordindiehelpcampaign.

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