First-class support for residents from Cotswold food business
By Matt Hall | 1st May 2020
Cotswold District Council has been working with its voluntary sector partners in supporting vulnerable people who need food, medicines and other support throughout COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
Cllr Jenny Forde, cabinet member for health, wellbeing and public safety at the council praised officers and local volunteers for their quick and compassionate response to supporting the most vulnerable in the district.
Cllr Forde said: "While supporting local residents, our officers quickly realised that a large number of people needed help simply because they couldn't get a supermarket delivery slot.
"Many food businesses across the Cotswolds have adapted following lockdown to meet the needs of their customers and to enable their businesses to keep going.
"Unfortunately, not all small shops have the resources to make deliveries.
"We've worked hard to connect our vulnerable residents with shops that are able to provide supplies, at the same time supporting businesses who could not make deliveries by connecting them to volunteers."
Larger supermarkets routinely offer deliveries and click and collect options. Although smaller shops tend not to have these services, they have sprung into action to ensure people who have been advised to self-isolate can get the food and other essentials they need without having to leave their homes.
The council has made calls to all the smaller food shops in the district to check how they are coping and whether they are currently taking payments over the phone, making deliveries, or if they could take payments and bag food for local volunteers to distribute to those in need.
Working with the Gloucestershire Community Help Hub, the council has mapped smaller food shops across the district, to ensure we can match shoppers to a shop that is local to them and a volunteer.
Cllr Forde added: "The response throughout the district has been brilliant and we now have a list of shops who can deliver to vulnerable people and are continuing to add more shops with the help of volunteers. Our community resilience team and the voluntary sector can now refer vulnerable people to shops local to them.
Leader of the council, Cllr Joe Harris, said: "This is an incredible initiative that not only helps meet the needs of vulnerable people but is also supporting local businesses, giving them more trade at a time when in-store shopping has reduced dramatically.
"We anticipate that these approaches will last well after the pandemic with shoppers staying loyal to the local shops that have helped them when they needed it most."
For more information about the Gloucestershire Community Help Help or to request support, please visit: https://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/gloucestershires-community-help-hub/
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