As coordinator of our Neighbourhood Watch group in Gloucestershire, I received offers from three members to volunteer to run errands, prepare/make meals and walk the dog, as required. I made this kind offer known to the entire membership via email and sixteen more people came forward to offer their support.

I then setup a WhatsApp group for all the volunteers. By ensuring that each member was a user of the WhatsApp we were able to launch our service immediately.

One of our members, who had a severe fall last year, leaving him much incapacitated, found he needed a supply of medication urgently. He contacted his neighbour for assistance because his son, his appointed carer, was himself injured and unable to fetch this medication. It was a Sunday with all chemists closed.

His neighbour contacted me and I sent out a WhatsApp message to the entire volunteer group. Within 4 minutes I got a response from a volunteer willing to fetch the medicine. I advised the  neighbour of the name of the volunteer and she had by this time identified a chemist opened for emergencies. She also advised she’d have a letter of authorisation available to picked up from her and take to this chemist.

The patient had his medication within 2 hours from his initial request.

Without the generosity of neighbours volunteering no scheme would get off the ground.