Royston vs Coronavirus scheme draws to a close after 800 calls

PUBLISHED: 10:31 26 August 2020

Samantha Hanks, Rachel Haynes, Liam Mason, Kate Beed, Julie Lye, Julia Bradley, Dave Carter, Clare Swarbrick and Alex Prosser-Snelling from the Royston vs Coronavirus Facebook group. Pictures: Paul Lye, Paul Haynes, Imogen Prosser, supplied

Samantha Hanks, Rachel Haynes, Liam Mason, Kate Beed, Julie Lye, Julia Bradley, Dave Carter, Clare Swarbrick and Alex Prosser-Snelling from the Royston vs Coronavirus Facebook group. Pictures: Paul Lye, Paul Haynes, Imogen Prosser, supplied

Archant

The scheme set up to help vulnerable members of the community during the coronavirus outbreak and lockdown is to draw to a close in its current form next week.

Dave Carter started the Royston vs Coronavirus group on Facebook. Picture: Dave CarterDave Carter started the Royston vs Coronavirus group on Facebook. Picture: Dave Carter

Dave Carter set up the Royston vs Coronavirus group, which saw an army of volunteers sign up to collect food and prescriptions for those isolating when the Prime Minister announced lockdown in March.

Dave said: “We are looking to ‘furlough’ Royston vs Coronavirus from September 1, unless there is another lockdown.

“The reason for this is the number of requests have dwindled down to a couple a day, and we are now mostly providing a free of charge delivery service for the local pharmacies. Volunteers have also now started to disperse as we all start to go back to work.

“Conscious that we might have a second wave – and wanting to avoid volunteer-fatigue if they are required in the coming months – we’ve decided to halt our operation and mothball everything for six months or so, or until if needed.

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“Hopefully we won’t be required and the systems have in place will then be cancelled.”

RVC received more than 820 calls and emails in total and the majority of those – 87 per cent – requested prescription delivery. Of the remaining 13 per cent, 63 asked for support with shopping, 11 callers requested the Royston Talks telephone chat scheme, 10 needed items posted and a further 18 were described as “difficult to categorise”.

Their busiest month was May, and during their busiest week they received 167 calls – the average was 68 calls per week.

Following support from the group, a clinically vulnerable member of the community thanked them and said: “You are stars. If I wasn’t being shielded I would have been with you helping others. I appreciate this service and that the volunteers are so kind.”

A second person said: “I feel I could speak for all Royston people a say a big thank you to you all – it showed us our great community at its best.”

“You’re all wonderful and so helpful,” said a third member of the community.

And finally, another said: “Feel proud of yourselves. Great idea, it’s quite likely your support saved lives during the crisis. Royston is a better place to live thanks to all of you.”


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