Royston community volunteers step up to help residents during coronavirus crisis

PUBLISHED: 17:01 25 March 2020

Richard Parussel started the Friends of Burns Road Heroes Facebook page last year. Picture: Richard Parussel

Richard Parussel started the Friends of Burns Road Heroes Facebook page last year. Picture: Richard Parussel

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A community group of volunteers in Royston has stepped up efforts to help vulnerable residents during the coronavirus lockdown.

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Richard Parussel founded Burns Road Heroes last year to support those who need it on the estate – and now the pandemic is sweeping across Britain, he and his group of a dozen volunteers want to do what they can to help their neighbours.

He told the Crow: “We started the group last year with me wandering around talking to people and getting the community to care for each other, in the modern era a lot of people don’t know much about their neighbours and can be self-focused so it puts a pressure on society.

“Now panic-buying we’re seeing is a product of that, and we’ve had years of people isolating themselves in some way from their neighbours – they may say hello, but that’s about it.

“I started talking to people on their doorsteps and tried to gauge who would be willing to get involved and Burns Road Heroes came from that. And then with the coronavirus, we thought there will be a lot of people who are struggling with this who need to self isolate who are cut off from friends or family so we wanted to do what we can to help.

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“My personal motive is I’m geared by the thought that God wants people to love each other, it’s not about pulling people into church or make people religious it’s about getting people to care for each other. Initially there’s a fair amount of wariness but people get to know us and see what we’re doing.”

Since the group’s creation, Richard said those who they have supported included a family in crisis, a lady whose teenage child has a disability and a resident who is housebound.

During the coronavirus outbreak their volunteers have been selflessly putting themselves forward to get food and medications to those in need.

He said: “We can help people get their groceries, we were hoping to do click and collect but that has become completely booked up but we’ve got other ideas.

“We can help people with picking up prescriptions, we’ve had an opportunity to do that already. We can also have chats with people on the phone - for example, a third party might let us know of someone who gets lonely and we could give them a call.

“If you do need help, firstly we would understand the situation, and then find out what is available or if there’s anything we can do ourselves, we will – we take each situation as it comes.”

To contact the group, call Richard on 07935 706793, Rebekah on 07714 373785, email welcome@burnsroadheroes.com or search ‘Friends of Burns Road Heroes’ on Facebook.

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