Norfolk’s VCSE sector responding to Coronavirus – Aylsham & District care Trust

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We’ve seen so much commitment from Norfolk’s VCSE sector in adapting to new ways of working during COVID-19. Aylsham & District Care Trust was founded in 1985 and, thanks to the donation of valuable land to the charity, ACT successfully led the development of the first integrated health and social care complex of its kind in the UK. 

ACT provides a range of charitable services which respond directly to local need. Dealing with the impact of social isolation was a primary developmental driver and remains at the heart of their work today. Whilst their services are open to anyone over the age of 18, many are tailored to meet the needs of older people to encourage and empower individuals to live as independently as possible for as long as possible. 

“We have been working hard to support people in our community” says Jane Bishop, ACT’s Central Services Manager. “Ahead of the Coronavirus pandemic many of our services were delivered through groups attending lunch clubs, shopping trips, caring services, and taking part in social outings. From the end of March, no longer able to bring people together in these ways, we adapted our service offer quickly in order to provide the best possible range of support that we can for those who need us.” 

ACT has been providing a range of services for those who need support in their own homes at this time. 

  • Delivering freshly prepared hot lunches and / or afternoon teas. The ACT centre kitchen has continued to run through the crisis, providing a focal point for community action and with capacity to increase production. 
  • Providing community care support – ACT’s community care team are continuing to provide in-home support for some of the most vulnerable members of our community. 
  • Delivering shopping, medical prescriptions  
  • Telephone welfare support - contacting all regular service users to check to see if they need help. 
  • Transport to important medical appointments, both at hospital and at the GP surgery. 


ACT’s centre at St Michael’s Avenue, Aylsham has become a delivery point for local supermarkets who are providing bread and milk and any other surplus goods for distribution. They are also working as part of a co-ordinated Coronavirus response team in the Aylsham area, a partnership of a number of local community groups, who together are staffing a shared helpline number in order to extend the support each member is able to offer across our shared community.  

From 23rd March, when social distancing measures were introduced, through to the end of July, Aylsham & District Care Trust:

  • carried out 119 personal shopping deliveries  
  • collected 239 prescriptions 
  • gave lifts to 36 medical and GP appointments 
  • cooked 2,735 at-home lunches 
  • made 333 afternoon teas 
  • carried out 136 community care support tasks and  
  • made 245 telephone welfare support calls 


ACT continues to rely on a small group of dedicated volunteers to preparing food, deliver meals, doing shopping, collecting prescriptions and taking people to vital medical appointments. Read more about the work and history of Aylsham & District care Trust at www.aylshamcaretrust.com  


And at CAN we are conducting detailed on-going research into how the VCSE sector in Norfolk is adapting to and coping with service user need during the pandemic. Read more here.