FACT’s busy ‘Shop & Drop’ service received almost 100 orders in one day during coronavirus lockdown
- Credit: FACT
A charity that usually provides a dial-a-ride and befriending service is now busy delivering shopping to the elderly and vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic - and one day received almost 100 orders.
Volunteers at Fenland Association for Community Transport (FACT) have been on the phones taking shopping orders, buying the items at local supermarkets and delivering to households since the lockdown began six weeks ago.
An army of helpers have shopped and delivered food and other essentials to households around Ely, March, Wisbech and Whittlesey and as far away as St Ives and Peterborough. They also handle prescription collections and drop offs.
Gary Christy, Trustee and Chairperson of FACT, explains it receives an average of 50-60 orders per day and operations are carried out safely in sanitsed conditions and with care. On its busiest day, the team took 98 shopping orders.
He said: “To protect the volunteers in the FACT office we have two layers of separation between office volunteers, our packing area, and the volunteers’ area.
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“We maintain two metre distance at all times, using minibuses with volunteers spread out. Only volunteers that are from the same household work together.”
Anyone who needs the Shop & Drop service - which is open to members and non-members of the charity - should call the FACT office with their order on 01354 661234 or Fenland District Council on 01354 654321.
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When the order is delivered, the customer calls the FACT office with their debit or credit card details to pay for the shopping.
Gary added: “Customers, many whom are our members, are so grateful and enjoy catching up with the team on the phone.
“Many are alone and isolated so they like a quick chat - they care about us as much as we do them.”
FACT’s volunteer network has also grown. In Parsons Drove, for example, shopping is dropped off at the village hall and deliveries to surrounding area are handled from there.
Gary gave special thanks to the volunteers, staff at March Tesco, March councillors and those helping with daily shopping sprees. Local businesses including taxi drivers, UK Towbars Ltd, Wave Window Cleaning and Domino’s Pizza in Wisbech were also mentioned.
Firefighters from Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue have also been helping.
If your business can support organisations during the coronavirus pandemic, register via the Cambridgeshire County Council website.
To donate to FACT, visit the FACT website and click on the donate button.