Coronavirus: 900 volunteers helping Portsmouth's elderly and vulnerable

AN ARMY of 900 volunteers have been delivering hundreds of meals, picking up prescriptions and delivering groceries for those in need during lockdown.

Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 9:15 am

Hive Portsmouth has signed up organisations and 920 people across the city in response to the crisis – and the team running it has been left overwhelmed by the response from the city.

In recent days the organisation has been handed a major boost by being awarded charitable status and earning grants including a near-£10,000 cash injection.

Operational director Louise Wilders said: ‘Portsmouth has been amazing throughout this and everyone has really pulled together.

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Hive volunteers who have been helping to collect and deliver donations throughout Portsmouth

‘We got so many people interested to volunteer and now we have about 920 who are registered.

‘We have had amazing donations from businesses across the city including the Queen’s Hotel which has been sending us 300 meals a week. Individuals have also raised just shy of £12,000 which is amazing.

‘I would say Portsmouth is streaks ahead of other places in Hampshire for the way everyone has responded to help in the crisis.

Hive, which is working with Solent NHS, Portsmouth City Council, the CCG and others, has earned a £9,957 from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Foundation through the National Emergencies Trust Coronavirus Appeal.

Hive volunteers who have been helping to collect and deliver donations throughout Portsmouth

Chair of Hive, Reverend Bob White, said: ‘It has been amazing for us to see the response of so many groups, organisations and individuals.

‘It seems to me that the more we can support each other and work together the more we can maximise the impact of each of our contributions.’

Hive is currently evaluating what support already exists and where gaps need to be plugged.

A six-month rota of volunteers is being drawn up to ensure support is maintained throughout the crisis.

Hive volunteers who have been helping to collect and deliver donations throughout Portsmouth

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A team from Pompey in the Community has been working with Hive and collecting food from businesses, which have had to shut, and delivering meals to more than 900 people a week.

Chief executive Clare Martin said: ‘It is amazing to see so many people coming together to help everyone in the city. The supermarkets have been really helpful as well and so we want to say a big thank you to them.

‘Our own team are delivering food to people who are in need and are taking all the right precautions to keep them and others safe. They are wearing visors and gloves and the vans get disinfected as well.’

The face shields used by the team have been designed and made by the The Makers Guild, based in the Guildhall.

Portsmouth City Council leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson said: ‘I am incredibly grateful to everyone across the city who has worked so hard to help support Portsmouth residents in so many ways.

‘We are doing everything we can to maintain our essential services during this difficult period and to provide additional support to those who need it.

‘The situation continues to develop but we are doing our utmost to keep residents informed. We urge everyone to follow the latest government advice and check the council website for the latest local information.’

Individuals who need help can call (023) 9261 6709.

To volunteer as an individual or as an organisation or to donate money visit hiveportsmouth.org.uk/covid-19

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