A WINSFORD mum who has provided a lifeline for the elderly marooned at home during the coronavirus pandemic has received a national award.

Jo Conchie has been named Most Inspiring Rural Community Campaigner in the Community Champions in a Hall of Fame which honours unsung heroes who have helped the most vulnerable in the UK.

The 38-year-old set up a Good Neighbour scheme, recruited volunteers and organised an emergency outreach service.

Jo secured insurance and funding, set up a helpline and took daily referrals from the council, NHS agencies, GPs, social workers, emergency services, pharmacies, vulnerable people themselves. Even families living as far away as New Zealand asked her to check up on their elderly relatives.

"It was my idea," said Jo, a freelance TV producer. "I felt that vulnerable people would not have anyone to turn to. There is no way I would have been able to do this without all our volunteers. It's been a team effort.

"I never thought it would erupt to the size it has. It just kind of exploded. We've helped hundreds of people."

Families with chronically sick children, young people with breathing difficulties and isolated pensioners all needed urgent help with shopping and collecting prescriptions.

"I've been looking after a couple in their 90s," said Jo. "I absolutely love them to bits. They brighten up my day.

"One of our ladies was upset that she couldn't buy a birthday card for her daughter who has cancer and lives far away. We dropped one off.

"We've had families having to isolate because their children have auto immune diseases."

Nothing is too much trouble for the volunteers.

Winsford Guardian:

Peter Lang, one of the volunteers who has been shopping for elderly residents during the pandemic

"I've been amazed by how kind and generous they have been with their time. Everyone has different skill sets and they all gel together.

"People have described us as angels and say they don't know how they'd cope without us. It's nice to show what Winsford is all about."

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Sir Stuart Etherington, former chief executive of the National Council for Voluntary Organisations and chairman of the Liberal Democrat Coronavirus Community Taskforce launched the Community Champions Hall of Fame initiative to honour people who put in superhuman efforts to help their local communities.

Jo is the prospective Liberal Democrat candidate for the Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner elections, now postponed until May 2021.

Former Eddisbury MP Antoinette Sandbach said: “It’s fantastic that Jo's work locally has led to her win. Jo is an outstanding example of how someone can make a difference in their community. This has become an unpaid and full-time job for Jo that has hugely benefited Cheshire."