Selfless band of volunteers do over 600 jobs for the vulnerable in Cornwall villages
[July 27, 2020: Cornwall Live]
From picking up prescriptions, delivering groceries and walking dogs, to digging gardens, arranging food bank parcels and driving people to hospital appointments – a band of selfless volunteers have carried out more than 600 jobs for vulnerable people in the Truro area.
Community volunteers have been helping vulnerable people in Threemilestone and Shortlanesend cope with the impact of the coronavirus lockdown restrictions since March.
More than 80 Threemilestone residents have been helped by 35 volunteers from the patrol group set up to help tackle anti-social behaviour in the village.
“While the official lockdown did not begin until March 23, it had become increasingly apparent at the beginning of the month that national restrictions were going to be introduced in the UK and many local residents had already begun to self-isolate,“ said the group’s co-ordinator Russell Keeble.
“We wanted to make sure that we had a system in place to help the vulnerable members of our local community.”
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Within days of first appealing for volunteers, the team had delivered flyers offering support to homes around the village, and posted information on notice boards, in the village magazine and on social media.
After setting up a special What’s App group to manage the requests for help, providing personal protective equipment and photo ID for the volunteers and making arrangements with the local shops and the pharmacy to pick up shopping and prescriptions, the volunteers were ready to go.
While the arrangements with the local shops worked well, some volunteers initially found themselves queuing for long periods as the supermarkets struggled to deal with the impact of panic buying.
“The first couple of weeks were a little chaotic but then everything seemed to settle down,” said Russell. “Since then we have carried out 407 grocery runs and 133 prescription runs, provided people with lifts to hospital and GP appointments, done the odd spot of gardening and some simple DIY repairs, moved heavy items and helped people sort out food bank parcels and hardship loans.
“Some volunteers who were keen to help but were not able to leave their homes because they were shielding provided a befriending service over the phone to people who were living on their own.“
Russell is incredibly grateful to everyone who has helped with the group and says that the enthusiasm and commitment of the volunteers demonstrates the strength of community spirit within the village.... MORE