Coronavirus: Volunteer community group helps town's vulnerable through pandemic

  • Watch a report from ITV Anglia's Hannah Pettifer

A group of volunteers in the small town of Coggeshall near Colchester has been working to ensure the most vulnerable are not isolated.

Coggeshall Community Volunteers have helped throughout the pandemic with food deliveries, prescriptions and general check-ins to ensure people are not lonely.

And now the group are stepping up to help the town's elderly get to their vaccination appointments.

Coggeshall Community Helpers deliver food direct to people's door Credit: ITV Anglia

Amy Edwards helped set the team up in March last year.

She said: "We really haven't stopped growing and the need is certainly still there.

"I get 20-60 calls a day, I feel I'm never off the phone but there's still that need there and people are still quite scared especially those who have been in for 11 months now who now are just afraid of going out."

Alongside their Facebook page, 5,000 leaflets were delivered across the town informing every household of their services. They now have a team of 60 volunteers.

"People are very anxious, even if they've got their vaccine, they're still so apprehensive and there's still such a need for our team to deliver their shopping, get their prescriptions and really help them any way we can", Amy added.

John is one of those who is grateful for the service Credit: ITV News Anglia

John Wheelwright is one of those benefitting from the deliveries, and said he is "very grateful" for the volunteers

"I feel very beholden to people who are prepared to in a sense put themselves at risk on behalf of others," he said.

"My wife is bedridden, if I go out and get something then she's got no means of escaping it and if I'm laid up because of it who's going to look after her?"

With a large elderly population in Coggeshall the helpers collect and deliver up to a hundred prescriptions a week.

The work is all voluntary with people using their own cars and petrol to run errands.

Volunteers also pick up and deliver prescriptions Credit: ITV News Anglia

Alannah Sigwart, one of the volunteers, said: "Sometimes it's the only contact they'll have all day.

"It's not just a drop off. You often spend 15 minutes having a chat on the doorstep because that's the only person they're going to see all week."

Most recently, the team has been driving people to and from their vaccination appointments. In just four weeks they've taken over a hundred patients. And say they'll continue for as long as they're needed.

Volunteers are driving people to and from their vaccine appointments Credit: ITV News Anglia