Over 1,500 volunteer to help those at risk stay safe during COVID-19 outbreak

Over 1,500 volunteers have signed up to support residents needing to stay at home to get shopping and prescriptions since the Basingstoke and Deane Community Hub was launched.

During the Coronavirus outbreak, many people have been told to self-isolate at home as they have medical conditions that could put them at risk or are over 70.

Some of these people have relatives or friends who are able to help out by dropping off shopping or prescriptions safely without coming into contact with them.

But for those who don’t have anyone to support them, Basingstoke Voluntary Action (BVA) worked with Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council and a number of other community organisations to set up the Basingstoke and Deane Community Hub to co-ordinate the volunteers wanting to help.

In just a week since the community hub was launched, 53 local neighbourhood groups have registered and volunteers are being put in touch with groups, with another 229 volunteers on standby to help if needed.

Hampshire County Council is acting as the main co-ordination point for all district community hubs in the county with a hotline. The Coronavirus Hampshire Helpline – Hantshelp4vulnerable – can be contacted on 0333 370 4000. The helpline is available seven days a week, from 9am to 5pm.

Vulnerable residents who need help, and do not have support from family or friends, should call the helpline to register for support. The county council will resolve complex cases and will pass on most other enquiries to the Basingstoke and Deane Community Hub to arrange support, such as deliveries of food.

Any residents who still want to volunteer or local groups who haven’t already registered should visit www.bvaction.org.uk/coronavirus-volunteering or call 01256 423852.

BVA has published an interactive map on its webpage www.bvaction.org.uk/basingstoke-deane-community-hubs/ showing the location and contact details for all the local groups.

BVA Chief Executive Tony Capon said: “It has been so inspiring to see the sheer volume of fantastic work being done by our neighbourhood and community groups right across the borough. The level of response from both residents and businesses wanting to offer their time, skills and expertise to help those in need has proven yet again what an amazing place the borough of Basingstoke and Deane is to live. Thank you so much to all the hundreds of people who are giving their all day in and day out to see us through this crisis.”

Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Leader Cllr Ken Rhatigan said: “It is truly overwhelming to see just how many people have volunteered and how local groups across the borough have organised themselves to help.

“This shows the amazing strength of the community spirit here. It is so inspiring that at a time that is difficult for everyone, so many people want to help others in need. I am proud and humbled at the sheer volume of the response in such a short time.”

Those people identified at risk of severe illness as a result of underlying medical conditions, that have been written to directly by the NHS, should register for help via gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable as per the instructions in their letter. They have been told that they should not leave home for at least 12 weeks.


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