Since the beginning of the Covid pandemic in early 2020 the Society has participated in what were in those early month’s weekly meetings. The meetings were well attended with more than 24 regular participants representing a variety of organisations.
Farnham Connect was the initiative of the Farnham Maltings leadership who were able to bring together many separate organisations across Farnham and through them help coordinate support to those affected most by the lockdown and dealing with a range of unexpected difficulties. It set up and ran a telephone Helpline and encouraged volunteers to make themselves available to provide support for those who needed it. In the end more volunteers came forward than were needed!
Its role was to provide a forum for all the organisations to share what they were able to do and in discussion develop new initiatives to address needs as they arose. It was not intended for it to be, and still is not, an ‘organisation’ that takes on and delivers tasks itself. It is a coordination hub.
The meetings now continue on a monthly basis and the regular attendance has still continued at high levels.
One funded initiative that has come from Farnham Connect is a project (supported with some short-term financial help from Surrey) to address those feeling isolated and often alone within our communities and the Farnham Society is participating in this project.
The present challenge for Farnham Connect is to ensure the legacy of a more active sense of community is maintained as we come out of the main pandemic environment.
The Farnham Society will continue to be involved, to support the Maltings and other organisations as the purpose of Farnham Connect aligns well with the Society’s objective of helping to make Farnham, through good times as well as difficult times not just a pleasant town but a great community in which to live.
This would not have come as a surprise to those setting up the original society in 1911. The unprecedented period of the Covid-19 pandemic has resonance back to the founding of the Society in 1911 and the times that residents of Farnham faced shortly after both during the 1914-18 war as well as the major flu pandemic in 1919.