A NW coordinator, Mrs Butler posted for support for isolators in her community via the NextDoor app and was very surprised to have over 40 responses from people wanting to volunteer to help. With the support of the Parish Council, local shop keepers and the Parish clerk, they set up a card system for grocery shopping, a helpline number and a leaflet drop for the village. One lady provided the mobile phone for the helpline, a person from the Parish Council designed the leaflets and another person printed and distributed them round the village.
They set up a WhatsApp group for volunteers and didn't really have to seek any since they flooded in, first from messages via Nextdoor and then word of mouth. There are currently 45 volunteers in total: 40 in the Whatsapp group and around 5 others that can be contacted via email if needed. The coordinator also wrote a set of comprehensive notes for the volunteers to ensure safe working and to avoid mistakes and misunderstandings.
Mrs Butler is doing the shopping rota each week. She devised 3 routes in the central village, to be covered each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. There is a morning slot to look for the pink cards and collect the lists and an afternoon slot for the deliveries - a total of 18 slots to fill each week. Every Friday Mrs Butler puts a group message on the Whatsapp chat asking for next week’s availability and then advises each volunteer about their allocated slot for the following week.
Mrs Butler and her husband do the prescription drop offs that are delivered to the shop each Thursday and Mrs Butler has the helpline which has rung a few times with shopping requests, welfare concerns and lifts to appointments etc. These have all been sorted so far with either a request in the group chat or calls to Rev Christine Goldsmith, our vicar, if it's related to pastoral care. So far there have not been any problems (other than too many volunteers and not enough for them to do (which is a great problem to have!) and “everything is running brilliantly.”
They say that they couldn't do this without the support of the community, especially the couple running the local shop..