RMA January update

Rye Mutual Aid, volunteer supporters, there when we need them.

This letter, sent to all Rye Mutual Aid volunteers on January 12 tells you what RMA does and how it works.

Dear Rye Mutual Aid volunteer,

Against a backdrop of increasing local infections from both COVID-19 and its new variant virus, we are seeing an increase in requests for support. Requests are coming from those shielding (having received a letter from the NHS) or isolating or infected. As we enter the third national lockdown, we want to share some information with you.

How RMA works

Our volunteers are organised in 21 zones (10 zones in Rye and 11 zones in surrounding areas). When a resident is in need of help, for example, for shopping or collecting medication and they cannot seek help from family, friends or neighbours, they can call an RMA ‘dispatcher’ in their zone. The contact details of dispatchers are on the homepage of our website. The dispatcher then contacts their volunteers and identifies someone able to help. You can see the full flowchart HERE.

Having completed a risk assessment, to ensure our volunteers protect both themselves and the residents they are helping, we have created protocols for our volunteers to follow. As a volunteer, it is important you:

  • Wear a mask and your RMA badge – please contact your dispatcher if you need masks or a badge
  • Be mindful of contamination and regularly wash your hands, use hand gel, practise not touching your face, in particular when out, etc.
  • Do not enter people’s home and stay at a 2-metre distance when delivering shopping or medication
  • Isolate if you develop any symptoms, following government guidelines.

Read our latest protocols HERE.

RMA support to our community

Our main activities include help with shopping, posting mail, picking up prescriptions, walking the dog of someone who is isolating or shielding, or offering a friendly call over the phone. Although there are limits to our activities, we have:

  • helped to find accommodation for a lady wanting to visit elderly relatives locally
  • sourced a free freezer for a vulnerable person
  • linked up a person living in London with a vulnerable relative in Rye.

There are unfortunately a number of activities that do not fall under our remit, such as offering emergency transport to hospital.

RMA projects

We have taken part in a number of projects in 2020, including:

  • making and distributing masks in our local area in our sewing club. We also sent masks to Kenya through the Do It With Boldness Foundation
  • collecting hundreds of toys for families who were struggling, working with Family Support Work and Westfield Church
  • raising funds to be able to organise a festive lunch for the elderly as soon as it is safe to do so
  • offering telephone support via our Listening Support team, in particular to people in receipt of the food bank support
  • helping to organise online ‘cook simple’ demonstrations etc.

Our latest project is to seek laptops, tablets or games machines for families home-schooling their children. If you, or anyone you know, are able to donate a laptop or tablet, please do contact us.

Digital divide support


The Government has announced a programme of vaccination which sets priorities. We know there have been numerous enquiries locally about progress in Rye and District. We have spoken to the Rye Medical Centre and local GP surgeries and there is as yet no information about vaccination hubs locally. Indeed we have been told “instructions are still awaited.” We do know that the official message is “wait to be contacted by the NHS” but we have made the point to the Authorities that it might be helpful to pass out some advisory messages to reassure the public that Rye and District has not been forgotten in the national effort! We continue to monitor.

Stay up to date

To stay up-to-date with our work and projects, you can like our Facebook page HERE and join our Facebook group HERE. To view all our posts, go to our page and click on the three dots on the top right. Select ‘Manage Notifications’ and then select ‘All posts’.

Image Credits: Rye Mutual Aid .


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