In our latest councillor’s column, Haselbury ward member Saray Karakus explains how she’s helped vulnerable residents
I am lucky to live in Haselbury ward, where I also have the pleasure of serving as a local councillor.
As elected representatives of the local community, councillors are entrusted with making decisions on issues that affect the area. But the coronavirus pandemic has made life extremely difficult for many – we have to take it seriously and do all we can to prevent the spread of the virus. Our crucial role, in this period, is community engagement.
I know that while some of my fellow councillors have not been able to get out in the community, they have been providing help from their homes. We have had to cancel face-to-face surgeries for the time being, but we are staying alert to all the issues. It is very upsetting and heartbreaking to see that we are losing lives every single day.
I know that staying home means saving lives, but some of us do need to get out there to save more lives. I have been delivering food parcels to Haselbury residents from both the council-run ‘Enfield Stands Together’ support hub and also the British Alevi Federation’s own foodbank service.
I have had unique experiences all over Enfield, but particularly one in Haselbury where an elderly man aged in his 80s had been without food for days and asked me to stay a little longer at his doorstep to talk to him. He told me that living without food can make him unwell “but feeling lonely can kill me”.
Self-isolated vulnerable groups are protecting themselves from the virus, but are unable to protect themselves from loneliness. These individuals cannot use the internet or smartphones, so the only way to maintain and improve their self-esteem and wellbeing is for people to call them regularly on their landline. Both of the hubs that I’m volunteering at have lists of people who need calling, and they have been receiving more each day.
In addition to this, I am also registered with the NHS, volunteering to deliver medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to appointments, and I believe everyone is doing their bit as much as they can at this difficult time, depending on their health and their circumstances.
I believe we all can do small things with great love.
Saray Karakus is a councillor for Haselbury ward, alongside Mustafa Cetinkaya and George Savva (all Labour):
Call 07971 614 328
Email [email protected].uk