Voluntary group Hive 'overwhelmed' by support from Portsmouth groups and businesses

VOLUNTEERS have been 'overwhelmed' by support from selfless residents, groups and businesses as more than 600 vulnerable people have been provided with food and almost £3,000 raised in cash.

By Fiona Callingham
Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 7th April 2020, 7:40 am

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Portsmouth has 'stepped up' to supply food and medicine in a mass effort co-ordinated by the Hive network, which has more than 400 volunteers on its books.

Over the last two weeks, 56 emergency food parcels have been delivered to people's doorsteps and a further 632 vulnerable people have been supported with their food by the Salvation Army and Age UK.

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The Hive Portsmouth is co-ordinating efforts to help provide the city's most vulnerable with food and medicine. Pictured: Councillors who helped set the Hive up in 2018 - Cllr Steve Pitt, Cllr Lynne Stagg, Cllr Jeanette Smith, Cllr Dave Ashmore, Cllr Claire Udy and former councillors Jennie Brent and Yahiya Chowdhury

Canon Bob White of St Mary's Church in Fratton, and chairman of Hive, said: 'Our priority is getting essentials to those that need it most.

'We've been so overwhelmed by the response from across the city. I'd like to reassure people that are worried about getting hold of food - there's plenty available, and we're hard at work to make sure it gets where it needs to be.'

The Hive is working in partnership with a number of organisations including Portsmouth City Council, NHS Portsmouth Clinical Commissioning Group, Pompey in the Community, the Salvation Army, Age UK, food banks and Victorious Events.

A number of shops and businesses have gifted food as part of the effort including Bookers, Morrisons, Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Prazerers Portgugese Deli, Andres Cafe, Cafe De Casto, Marina Bar collection, Quattro Foods and Spar Fratton.

Father Bob White said the Hive has been 'overwhelmed' by support from residents and businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: Sarah Standing (201219-3411)

Quattro Foods alone distributed 140kg porridge, 30kg of pasta and 30kg of vegetable curry.

And so far the public has donated £2,800 via the Hive website.

Deputy leader of the council, Councillor Steve Pitt, thanked all involved. 'We have seen an overwhelming response of companies and individuals in Portsmouth ready to help those in need during these uncertain times. It is a true testament to the sense of community in our city.

'I would like to thank the Hive Portsmouth and all organisations involved for the effort and speed in which resources have been pulled together and am grateful that we are able to help our most vulnerable.'

Community pharmacies and the You Trust social prescribing team are also helping to get medicines out to the vulnerable.

People who are in need of support can contact the Hive helpline on 023 9261 6709.