There With You: Volunteer support group for coronavirus self-isolators inundated with calls since forming

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 April 2020

A volunteer picking up essentials for a resident in isolation. Picture: Marc Jobson

A volunteer picking up essentials for a resident in isolation. Picture: Marc Jobson

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A volunteer support service in Budleigh Salterton set up to help those forced into self-isolation has been inundated with calls since forming.

The Budleigh Coronavirus Support Group, which offers volunteer help with shopping, medicine pick-ups and signposting to services, is receiving 100 calls a day from those in self-imposed isolation.

They have also had more than 100 people come forward to offer their services, while others have provided donations.

Steve Hitchcock, chairman of the Budleigh Coronavirus Support Group, said: “We are so grateful and very thankful to all these kind offers.

“Our team of volunteers is already busy helping those in isolation.

“We have extended our support to ‘telephone befriending’, for those that are on their own and isolated, so they have someone to talk to.”

He said the unexpected result of the call for help has been financial contributions from those unable to volunteer due to being in self-isolation themselves.

A fundraising page has been set up where people can make their donations, which will be used by Budleigh Salterton Relief in Need (BRIN) to help those who are struggling to pay for food.

He added: “The number of people who have felt unable to offer their time due to self-isolation but have asked to make a financial donation to support those who are struggling is amazing.”

Mr Hitchcock said BRIN, Budleigh Lions Club and the food festival have been ‘incredibly generous’ with their donations.

One of the key services the group offers is help with shopping.

Mr Hitchcock said anyone who needs help with shopping should be asking for essential items only, and that they should last a week as the group cannot meet the demand for daily trips.

Mr Hitchcock thanked Marc Jobson of the health and wellbeing hub for coordinating the volunteer efforts, Lorraine Ralph for organising the financial assistance and Catherine Fitzgerald for her work on social media. He also thanked Richard Allen of the Lions Club and James Henly from the Baptist church for their support.

Anyone who is need of any sort of help at this time is asked to call the wellbeing hub on 01395 446896.


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