ALMOST 150 vulnerable residents in the town have received vital food deliveries so far thanks to a team of volunteers who answered the Council’s call for a community response to the coronavirus crisis.
Daily deliveries began on Friday last week to ensure those most in need are being looked after.
Reading Voluntary Action – the organisation co-ordinating volunteer applications – has seen a huge rise from 353 to over 1,000 volunteers since the One Reading Community Hub opened and called for people to come forward.
Calls to the One Reading Community Hub helpline have seen residents requesting help with prescription requests and receiving emotional support. By far the largest number of calls have been from isolated residents unable to get to the shops.
Grateful recipients who called in have received much needed supplies including difficult to obtain items such as bread, milk, eggs, pasta and toilet roll, along with fresh fruit and vegetables. The crucial deliveries will now continue.
The One Reading Community Hub launched on Wednesday 25 March, co-ordinated by the Council to ensure the needs of residents are met and link them to volunteers who can help them.
Anyone needing assistance can call the Reading Borough Council’s One Reading Community Hub phoneline on 0808 189 4325 should they be in urgent need of support that family or friends can’t offer. The line is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday, and 9am – 1pm on Saturday, with plans to also take calls 9am – 1pm on Sunday. Reading residents who wish to offer their help as volunteers can also call the phoneline.
Cllr Jason Brock, Leader of Reading Borough Council, said:
“The Council’s priority is to support vulnerable people across Reading at this hugely difficult time”.
“Reading has always been known for its great community spirit and it is no surprise to see such an amazing public response since the call for volunteers went out. I would urge anyone in need of help not to hesitate to call the Hub if they do not have family or trusted friends who can help them”.
“I’ve heard first hand from residents who have received support via the Hub and the value of its work cannot be underestimated. My sincere thanks go to all involved”.
The One Reading Community Hub, a partnership between Reading Borough Council, Reading Voluntary Action and the town’s voluntary and community sector, was launched as part of Reading Borough Council’s strategic response to COVID-19 which prioritised:
· Ensuring essential social care services are running for the adults and children who need them
· Reaching the most vulnerable and isolated members of the community who most need help at this time
· Supporting local business and the economy, and securing the economic recovery of Reading
Residents who wish to pledge money to help support local people in need can do so thanks to a fund set up by the Berkshire Community Foundation. Donations support groups helping people isolated at home, people struggling to maintain good physical and mental health and people struggling to deal with the impact on their work.
The Reading Community Lottery’s proceeds will also be used to support the community response during the coronavirus outbreak, with more details here: https://www.readingcommunitylottery.co.uk/support/reading