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A Tribute to Emma Williams, T&T Volunteer of 20 years

Article appeared in Southwark News on 15th April 2020:

BERMONDSEY ANGEL EMMA WILLIAMS FUNERAL WILL BE LIVE-STREAMED SO FRIENDS CAN PAY THEIR RESPECTS

KEVIN QUINN (15 April, 2020)

The 46-year-old volunteer with Rotherhithe’s Time & Talents spent over sixteen years helping to run group for older women

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Described as an angel by the older people she helped take out on trips, 46-year-old Emma Williams’ life was cut short last month and amid a global pandemic her funeral won’t be attended by any of her friends young or old.

Emma, who had been volunteering at Rotherhithe’s Time & Talents, for over sixteen years suffered a heart failure at home on March 18.

Her sudden death shocked her family, who had been in touch with her less than a hour before her carer found her at her home in Jacobs House on Chambers Street in Bermondsey.

Emma had been unwell since Christmas, but her stepfather Eddie had been with her that day and had called to check on her less than an hour before her carer visited her home.

Despite having learning difficulties Emma was very independent and enjoyed making jewellery, attending concerts and Tai-Chi. But above everything else she loved volunteering, helping elderly people on and off buses at the Time & Talents community centre on St Marychurch Street.

She went on countless outings with them, and its Neighbourhood Co-ordinator Cindy Glover told the News: “She will be greatly missed. She was amazing and we have known Emma for twenty years, when she came here first as a mini-bus escort. She then helped run our group for older women, making tea, chatting with them. They would call her their angel. She loved taking them on theatre outings, especially to the Brick Lane musicals, as well as west-end shows like Lion King.”

Emma’s mum Evelyn said: “She was a very clever girl, very kind and considerate and I don’t think I realised just how many people’s lives she touched until she was gone. So many people have been in touch, but we won’t be able to give her the funeral she deserves. It is bad enough, but this situation is making it worse.

“Her sister is coming down from Birmingham. I have been self-isolating as I have COPD, so we’ll have to go to the crematorium in our own cars. I plan to have a memorial after the lockdown for her friends.”

But the service on May 11 will be livestreamed and Evelyn said that she welcomes people to tune in and pay their respects at home. Bermondsey funeral directors Albins have been offering the livestreaming since the coronavirus outbreak took hold and restrictions were put in place preventing only close family members from attending all services.

The News will publish details of how to watch her funeral on livestream nearer the date.

Closure of the Time & Talents temporary COVID-19 emergency relief food hub

 

The pandemic forced harsh choices on us all. For Time & Talents, it meant having to stop being a place where people could meet and enjoy the chance to be part of their community.

 

In partnership with Southwark Council and a network of other community organisations, last May we found a new role as a temporary food hub, storing and distributing food to local households in crisis to support them through the various lockdowns. It was always intended to be an emergency response to an emergency situation.

 

Fortunately, with the rate of vaccinations continuing to progress well and restrictions gradually beginning to ease, we can see there is light at the end of the lockdown tunnel when we will be able to reclaim our Old Mortuary building as a meeting place and community centre, rather than a food store.

 

We have been in touch with the households currently receiving food support to offer guidance and advice they may need from April onwards once our food hub closes on Thursday 25 March.

 

We do want to go on helping to address issues around food poverty and will continue to collaborate with local partners to explore sustainable solutions such as community pantries.

 

In the meantime. the good news is that, in line with the Government’s roadmap, we hope to start to reopen our doors from April over the coming months to the local people who rely on us for friendship, support and community.

We’re very grateful to our staff, volunteers, community partners and Southwark Council for a fantastic collaborative response over the past 11 months.

 

For any urgent issues contact the Southwark Council COVID-19 Community Hub in one of these ways:

  1. Complete an online referral form
  2. Email covidsupport@southwark.gov.uk
  3. Phone 0207 525 5000 and choose option 3

 

As always, we welcome volunteering applications

You can contact the team as usual on 020 7231 7845 and at info@timeandtalents.org.uk

With our very best wishes

Sarah Gibb, Director, and the T&T team

17 March 2021