Volunteer Army Set To Support People At Risk Through Second Lockdown

VOLUNTEERS will once again be doing essential shopping and collecting prescriptions for people most at-risk people in Salisbury during the second lockdown.

The Compassionate Communities Scheme is again being organised by Salisbury City Council and Wessex Community Action after the government announced the four-week lockdown until December 2.

During the first lockdown between March and June hundreds of volunteers, many of whom had been furloughed, stepped forward to give up their time.

WCA chief executive Amber Skyring said this time new recruits are not needed though. “We are very fortunate that many of the people who came forward earlier in the year agreed to stay registered with us for such an eventuality and because of their goodwill and energy will be able to support our vulnerable residents at this challenging time.”

The volunteers will be there to help people who are deemed clinically vulnerable or who have to isolate because they have tested positive for Covid-19, come into contact with someone who has or are showing symptoms.

Retired midwife Jane Podkolinski will be among the volunteers giving up their time. She collected prescriptions and went shopping for several elderly people and has continued regular phone calls to one lady.

“I volunteered because I am able to do it and I want to contribute to the community,” she said. “It’s rewarding and a privilege because it is a very trusting relationship and you do get to know the sorts of thing people like when you do their shopping.

“Over time you learn more and more about the people you are helping and they get to know you. It’s about just being kind to one another, which makes a difference in these times and you are rewarded over and over again just by doing something for someone because they in turn do something for you, even if it is just their smile or saying thank you.”

Mrs Podkolinski, who retired from Salisbury District Hospital eight years ago, believes part of her role is reassurance. “I like to focus on the positives because there can always be positives, even if it is just talking about the sun shining of the colours of the flowers,” she said.

Mrs Skyring stressed that because both organisations are running normal services as well as the volunteer support, they will only have the capacity to help those most in need of help.

“Last time we focused on the immediate challenges of lockdown, but now we are also running our normal services, so we are only targeting people who don’t have family and friends who can support them,” she said. “The offer of support will be only for essentials such as shopping and prescriptions, where people can’t for any reasons access on-line shopping and prescription deliveries.”

The group will use registers of people needing help to contact them and arrange for volunteers to call round but anyone who wasn’t previously registered and needs help can contact 01722 326822  between 9 am and 4 pm from Monday to Friday.

Many Covid response groups across the county are registering their contact details and services on the new community platform Wiltshire Together. For more details go to wiltshiretogether.org.uk.

For more details about the scheme go to www.wessexcommunityaction.org.uk or contact info@wessexcommunityaction.org.uk.

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