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With plenty of worry and uncertainty around thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been refreshing to read scores of positive messages coming through from customers about how they are responding to the situation.

We’ve been receiving tales of customers uniting their community, looking after those most in need, and even volunteering for the new NHS Volunteer Responder scheme showing the resilience of customers even in these toughest of times.

One such story is Patrick Smith and his wife Julie who live in a ground floor Bromford flat at Market Close, in Bourton-on-the-Water. The structural steel designer moved to the pretty Cotswold village almost three years ago and even though he continues to work from home during the outbreak, the husband and wife have sprung into action to help protect the most vulnerable in their community.

“Our block is an independent living scheme, and although we have got a mix of ages across the 32 flats, it is predominantly those in the older age bracket living here; our lovely next door neighbours are both in their 90s, for example,” the 61-year-old explained.

After watching the public health emergency unfold on television, the couple decided to join the local council’s team of neighbourhood carers as volunteers and are now partly responsible for supporting customers at Market Close.

Patrick went on: “When we realised we were heading for an essential lockdown, we sent a mailshot out to every resident asking them if they needed any basic essentials, including shopping and prescriptions, and we’ve had a good response.

“Many residents are in the high-risk category, so my wife and I wanted to do anything we could to help keep the exposure of the majority of the block down to an absolute minimum. Our local supermarket is a Co-op, and Julie is a funeral director for Co-op Funeralcare, so we’ve actually been able to get residents discounts on their shopping which has been a bit of an added bonus.”


The former banker, who worked in the city of London for 18 years, also enjoys working alongside Bromford in helping in other practical ways.

“I’ve always found Bromford to be as proactive as they can be, but it can be difficult to get repair teams out at the drop of a hat, and more especially in the current health crisis.”

With his HND Building Services qualification, Patrick helps by completing basic repairs for residents whilst maintaining the government’s strict guidelines over social distancing.

“Bromford are doing their very best and, as I’m working from home, it has been quite easy for me to complete a few basic repairs, such as a separated waste pipe I fixed the other day while liaising closely with Helen our neighbourhood coach.

“The coronavirus situation is quite worrying, there’s no doubt about it. But we’re a real community here, and the response from people has been great,” he added.

Have a question or query over the coronavirus situation? Please visit our Coronavirus Hub for the latest frequently asked questions.

Communications Manager - whether it's telling customer stories, proactive and reactive media relations, social media, or photography, I'm your man!

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