Volunteers make plans to feed the elderly and vulnerable as coronavirus crisis grows

From left, Wendy Bainbridge, Angie Dale and Helen Grant.

Volunteers across Richmondshire are making preparations to ensure the elderly and vulnerable who have to self-isolate because of the coronavirus get the food and provisions they need.

Community groups have been quickly formed across the district to get supplies to those who need it and the first deliveries are already being made.

Richmondshire District Council leader Angie Dale and county councillor Helen Grant already run the community hub and cafe at Colburn Village Hall, which is set to become a coronavirus hub for the whole of Catterick Garrison, Colburn and Catterick Village.

Meals are already being delivered to those who need them from the hub, with plans underway to provide care packages and run a pop-op food bank from the hall.

The volunteers are liaising with a new Facebook group, Helping those in need during the COVID-19 outbreak Catterick Garrison, which has been launched on the garrison to coordinate volunteers and receive requests for help and information.

The group already has more than 1,000 members.

The team are also working with North Yorkshire County Council’s Stronger Communities team, who are set to ramp up support for volunteer groups in coming days and help coordinate the distribution of supplies.

Angie said the team of volunteers “meant business” and were determined to ensure the vulnerable got the provisions they needed.

“There’s going to be tough times ahead but we’re getting prepared,” she said.

“We’re trying to make sure we’re ahead of the curve and when things get bad that we’re ready.

“I’m so impressed with the group which has been set up and all the offers of help that have come in.”

Helen added: “We’ve done three meals today to people who are self-isolating — but we thing this slow start will increase exponentially as demand grows.”

The volunteers plan to deliver cold meals to people which they then heat up.

People will be asked to pay a small amount, although they are determined nobody will go hungry.

Angie said there biggest concern was getting the items necessary to make the meals and make up the care packages.

They are talking with local supermarkets about getting supplies in and asking for donations.

The group is also looking for a spare freezer.

As well as the Catterick Garrison group, other groups have formed including Leyburn & Dales Support for Covid-19 and A Good Life Project – Upper Dales Covid-19 Support Group.

Richmond resident Fergus Brown is helping to run Richmondshire Covid 19 Mutual Aid, which already has more than 600 members.

He said plans are being developed to create a distribution hub in the town hall in Richmond.

Links are also being formed with local chemists, GP surgeries and stores to ensure medicine and food can be provided to those who need it.

He said: “At the moment it’s the calm before the storm.

“We are making the preparations and plans to ensure that when the storm hits we are ready, and I think things are coming along nicely.”

Fergus added: “I’ve been flabbergasted by the strength of feeling from people who want to help in Richmond.”

Richmondshire Today is compiling a list of all the businesses and organisations which can help those who are self-isolating.

Click here for more details.

Email info@richmondshiretoday.co.uk to get your business or organisation added to the list.