Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw makes hundreds of deliveries to the vulnerable
A rickshaw service has made 700 deliveries to those in need since the start of lockdown.
Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw, run by volunteers, has been helping people who are shielding or self-isolating by collecting and delivering food and medical supplies.
Libby Ranzetta, one of the founders of the project, said: “The response from people wanting to volunteer has been fantastic.
“We have 29 riders helping with the deliveries and another 13 people handling calls behind the scenes.
“At any one time during the day we have four riders on the road, and three volunteers in our virtual control room.
“We collect from all pharmacies in the town and most supermarkets and are averaging 20 to 30 deliveries most days.”
It is part of a network of 379 community groups and volunteers across West Suffolk connected to the Home But Not Alone Service, which is a hotline for those with no immediate family or friends to call for support.
Staff at West Suffolk Council answer the calls and contact volunteers who can help.
Lisa Grove, customer services manager at West Suffolk Council, said: “Calls have included a nurse unable to get to her elderly parents who have been told to shield, and an elderly man who was new to the area and didn’t have anyone else he felt he could turn to for support.
“In both cases we were able to help by contacting local volunteers in their area.”
Cllr John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, added: “Bury St Edmunds Rickshaw, its volunteers and the other hundreds of community groups across West Suffolk, are fulfilling such an important role in helping people who are most at risk, stay home and stay safe.
“Part of our role is in supporting these groups in what they are doing, including through locality budgets, while Home But Not Alone also provides a safety net to ensure everyone that needs support at this time, can get that help through a quick phone call.
“We have a strong track record of working with our communities and we will be here, continuing to work with them long after this crisis is over.
“In the meantime, stay safe and if you need to, call our team.”
The Home But Not Alone Service is available from 9am to 5pm seven days a week. Call 0800 876 6926.
More by this authorPaul Derrick