Grove & Wantage Community & Midcounties Deliver Shopping & Smiles
Published 23 May 2020 in Community
An Oxfordshire community group, formed to support vulnerable people through the coronavirus crisis, has now made more than 300 essential food deliveries to homes across the region in partnership with Co-op Midcounties.
Chris and Katie Hubbard started the ‘A helping hand, Grove and Wantage area’ Facebook Group on March 16th as a way to bring the community together and support those most in need throughout the pandemic, and the Group now has more than 1,800 members.
After teaming up with its local Co-op Midcounties Food store in Grove, there are now 10 volunteers helping to deliver shopping to members of the community who are self-isolating across the region.
Chris Hubbard said: “We reached out to everyone in the local area to see who needed support and if anyone was willing to help and we’ve been blown away by the reaction.
“Early on, we were contacted by Amy, the manager of our local Co-op Food store, to see if we could work together with her team as part of a home delivery service they were already starting up.
“They’ve massively improved the service we can offer, not only by providing all of the essentials for customers but also launching phone payments, which means people can place their orders and pay for them from their homes and we don’t have to handle any cash at all.
“We work by having a street champion on every road who is a familiar, trusted point of contact for their street. If anyone needs anything, they can post it on the Facebook page and the street champion will pick it up and deliver it to them.
“Some people haven’t spoken to anyone for a while, so we make a real point of stopping to chat, offer encouragement and cheer them up. We’ve even delivered birthday parcels to local children who aren’t able to celebrate with their friends and made graveside visits to leave flowers on behalf of relatives who are trapped indoors.”
Anyone who needs support, or who would like to volunteer, can send a message to the ‘A helping hand, Grove and Wantage area’ Facebook group, or make contact through Co-operative Food in Grove, Vale of White Horse District Council or Wantage Independent Advice Centre.
Co-op Midcounties has partnered with more than 60 local volunteering groups and over 700 volunteers close to its Food stores to provide home delivery services for vulnerable people in the communities.
Phil Ponsonby, Chief Executive of Co-op Midcounties, said: “Supporting our communities and members has, and always will be, at the heart of what we do.
“At this unprecedented time, we want to do all we can to protect those who are most vulnerable, which means helping them to stay at home and stay safe. The volunteering groups we’ve partnered with have been key to us doing this.
“People like Chris and Katie are making a real difference to peoples’ lives, providing a link with the outside world and ensuring they have everything they need to get through the crisis. They also helped us mark a special landmark in our home delivery service, dropping off our 10,000th package just a few weeks ago.”
Co-op Midcounties Food stores will continue to run a priority shopping hour from 9.30 – 10.30 Monday to Friday for carers of the elderly and vulnerable, as well as NHS workers.
To find your local Co-op Food store please see here.