‘Shop and drop’ service from Fenland transport provider FACT in high demand amid coronavirus outbreak

PUBLISHED: 10:33 26 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:34 26 March 2020

FACT team members out in force to help collect shopping for Fenland residents. Picture: FACEBOOK/FACT COMMUNITY TRANSPORT

FACT team members out in force to help collect shopping for Fenland residents. Picture: FACEBOOK/FACT COMMUNITY TRANSPORT

Archant

A home delivery service by community provider FACT, the Fenland Association for Community Transport, to help residents most in need is already making leaps and bounds.

Around 15 staff and volunteers have been shopping for those across the district who are at high risk, including the elderly and vulnerable people, during the coronavirus pandemic.

FACT launched the idea last week after closing its dial-a-ride and befriending services due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But instead of resting on their laurels, the group decided to run a ‘shop and drop’ service to continue helping the local community.

“The idea was if we cannot take people to the shops, we will take the shops to the people,” Gary Christy, chairman of FACT, said.

“The idea started when people started to get concerned and cancelling their bookings. We asked them why and they said they were worried about going out, so we offered to collect their shopping for them.

“We probably have around 60 to 70 people that we are doing shopping for. We do around two or three shops of the local stores, and most of them have been very accommodating.”

The service is for members and non-members which is funded by local authorities including Cambridgeshire County Council and Fenland District Council, and demand has not stopped growing.

One resident supported the schemes and said: “I feel it is a good thing to do at this time. It is a good idea.”

FACT is also running a wellbeing call-back service for residents to stay in touch, as well as offering to collect and deliver prescriptions, with donations already flooding in.

“We have had people ringing up and some have been in tears that people are looking after them,” he said.

“What we wanted to do is get the word out to as many people as possible so we can help as many folks as we can.

“We will have to start calling volunteers if we have to, but we have no intentions of closing until the pandemic is finished. I do not think the funding will be an issue. We will find a way to keep going one way or another.”

Emergency service personnel can also use the drivers restroom at their headquarters on Martin Avenue in March, which will provide teas and coffees, as well as a separate door for social distancing.

For more information on the schemes, call FACT on 01354 661234 or visit their Facebook page.

What are you doing to help the community during the coronavirus pandemic? Let us know - email Daniel.Mason@archant.co.uk with more information.

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