A Facebook group has been set up in Bedford to harness the vast numbers of volunteers wanting to support the old and vulnerable in their communities.
Bedford Kindness was set up by Craig Dawson on Saturday (14 March) and already has over 1,250 members.
The aim is to provide support for elderly and vulnerable people locally who might not have a support network nearby by mobilising their neighbours.
“I’m on hand to help my elderly mum,” said Craig. “But it occurred to me that there are many, many older people who don’t have a support network nearby.”
Admins and volunteers are coordinating local networks, ensuring that vulnerable people have a known, trustworthy contact within two or three streets of where they live.
Mel Stratton, who runs the Love in a Bag initiative, is an admin of the group and told the Bedford Independent that safe-guarding of volunteers and vulnerable members of the community was paramount.
“We’re coordinating with Community Voluntary Service (CVS) Bedfordshire, the Borough Council’s new community hub as well as church groups to ensure that we can provide a trustworthy and credible service, linked in with as many other agencies as possible,” said Mel.
“The amazing growth of the group in such a short space of time shows that there are many hundreds of people who want to do something to help.
“We’ve got huge parts of the Borough now covered by volunteers, and more are welcome.
“Our aim is that every couple of streets will have a Bedford Kindness volunteer who is known to the most vulnerable members of the community.”
To help identify those members of local communities that need help, White Hart Press have collaborated with Bedford Kindness to print batches of ‘self-isolating’ cards which volunteers are distributing.
CVS have confirmed that anyone living outside the area who is worried about family members who live in Bedford can contact them and they’ll contact the relevant Bedford Kindness volunteer.
“It’s easy to feel helpless at the moment, but volunteering in your local area is a great way to make a big difference to your community,” said Mel.
To offer support, email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Borough Council’s community hub can be contacted at email@example.com