Volunteers at a Fife community centre are providing a lockdown lifeline to their elderly and vulnerable neighbours.
Collydean Community Centre in Glenrothes is run by local people, not the council, meaning it can now operate as a coronavirus priority response hub while other venues have been forced to close.
Centre manager Rose Duncan said: “That effectively leaves us as the primary responders for around 20,000 residents in the north of Glenrothes which is a huge undertaking.
“At first we were on hand to offer support with prescriptions and food parcels for the elderly and the vulnerable but a the coronavirus crisis deepened, it was soon clear that effort had to be seriously scaled up to meet the increasing demands.
“That’s why we are now effectively a seven-day operation and we are even contemplating making that a 24-7 response as we head further into this crisis.”
A £12,000 award from the National Lottery Award For All scheme has paid for a new phone system to be installed as well as 60 new mobiles for volunteers.
Major weekly donations from the nearby Morrisons supermarket, local businesses and kind-hearted individuals have been coupled with support from local churches, charities and organisations including Age Concern, British Red Cross and Glenrothes Rotary Club, as well as council staff from Auchmuty Learning Centre.
From shopping, to the collection and delivery of vital medicines, food parcels for those suffering hardship and a new befriending service, the 150-plus volunteers are helping to bring a little sunshine.
“It’s in times of crisis that you often see the best in people and that’s certainly been true here,” said Rose.
“You could quite easily be overwhelmed by the magnitude of what we are having to deal with but if we crumble them then those elderly residents or those less well off than us will be left to suffer and we can’t allow that to happen.”
Volunteer Stephanie Davies is typical of those who have come to help.
The 35-year-old self employed clothing retailer is now manning the computer and phones, prioritising requests and adding them to the driver’s schedules.
“I just felt serious need to do something, anything to make the situation easier for those that need support,” she explained.
“I took a pint of milk to an elderly resident who had been stuck at home and they were almost overwhelmed with gratitude that someone was there to care.
“I was the first contact they had had with anyone for days on end and it was just a pint of milk that made all the difference.”
J P Easton, head of the council’s community learning and development team in Glenrothes said mental well being would become increasingly important the longer the lockdown continued.
“Our community education worker Tessa Sim has done a great job, working behind the scenes to ensure that people are ready to go and we now have the first befrienders on the phones drawn for the Glenrothes area CLD Team,” he said.
“This is a great example of people pulling together and I am so glad that we were able to help Rose at Collydean Community Centre to get this initiative started.”