Published: Friday, 24th April 2020
Hundreds of volunteers across the Scottish Borders have stepped up to help the most vulnerable people in their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The teams are working under our Resilient Communities Groups initiative, which was set up 10 years ago to help co-ordinate local volunteers to respond to emergency situations.
A total of 57 groups have been supporting the COVDI-19 response, working alongside the Community Assistance Hubs (CAHs) carrying out vital tasks such as food and medication deliveries for people who are Shielding or in self-isolation.
We set up the multi-agency CAHs in each locality last month as part of a co-ordinated response with NHS Borders, the Third/Voluntary Sector and local Resilient Communities Groups.
The Hubs are also co-ordinating, alongside Resilient Communities Groups, the significant number of offers that have been received from people and organisations willing to play their part and volunteer their support.
Examples of good work by Resilient Communities Groups
Darnick Resilient Communities Volunteers
A total of 25 residents have joined the existing volunteers group to help support the community’s most vulnerable people.
The group quickly identified over 40 people as either potentially at risk or needing help.
Volunteers have been shopping, collecting prescriptions, providing support over the phone and generally checking up on vulnerable people.
The number of new volunteers recruited allows the group to have people on stand-by, should circumstances change. Activity is coordinated and tracked to ensure complete coverage is maintained, whilst enabling rapid response if needed.
Eyemouth Response Team
The team has been providing shopping, prescription pick-ups, food parcels and frozen meals to those self-isolating in their community. Delivering around 120 parcels each week thanks to their team of volunteers, ERT have also been helping with shopping orders, phone calls, cooking and much more.
Jemma Landels, Eyemouth RT
“The feedback from the community has been overwhelming and it is good to know that we are doing our bit to keep our community safe.
“Eyemouth is showing the wonderful community spirit we have.
Jedburgh Resilience Group
In the space of a week, Jedburgh Resilience Group recruited over 70 volunteers, supporting residents who are self-isolating. Referrals come from residents themselves, from relatives and agencies such as SBHA, Borders Carers Centre, our Social Work, Penumbra and Red Cross.
Demand for help with tasks such as shopping, prescription pick-ups and dog walking has increased by more than 60 per cent.
During one week in April, a total of 41 residents received help in the town and surrounding areas.
Volunteers are also providing a listening ear, via phone, for those who are self-isolating.
Kelso Resilience Group
The group has seen a number of volunteers in the town step forward to help since the outbreak of COVID-19.
The group set up a dedicated email address and phone number to coordinate their response.
Tasks have included working closely with local chemists to deliver prescriptions on weekdays for those who are shielding and have assisted with food services provided through the Cheviot CAH when required.
In addition, they are helping with dog walks, shopping and providing deliveries, as well as supporting Kelso Food Bank.
Dean Weatherston, Kelso Resilience Group
“It is a testament to our tight knit community that we have had so many people come forward to volunteer for our group.”
Chief Executive Tracey Logan
"The Resilient Communities teams across the Scottish Borders are providing vital support and assistance for some of our most vulnerable people.
“At such a challenging time, it is pleasing to see large numbers of new volunteers come forward to join their local Resilient Communities Group to support their efforts.
“This service is a critical part of the Scottish Borders’ overall Coronavirus response and is greatly appreciated by the Council and the people they are assisting.”
Images of Resilient Communities Groups in action are available on our Flickr page.
More information on our response to COVDI-19, including its Community Assistance Hubs and Resilient Communities Groups, is available.