Coronavirus: Chepstow volunteers responding to 'phenomenal' demand

By Jordan Davies
BBC News

  • Published
Helen Child Villiers
Image caption,
Helen Child Villers says it is amazing what volunteers are doing

Volunteer groups in Wales say they are receiving referrals from social services to help support vulnerable people during the coronavirus outbreak.

One group in Chepstow says there has been a "phenomenal" level of need.

It has taken more than 1,400 calls and carried out close to 1,000 tasks in just over a month, including delivering medication and food.

There are tens of thousands of volunteers across Wales, with 60 groups in Monmouthshire alone.

Helen Child Villiers, founder of the Chepstow Covid-19 Helping Group, said it had received a range of requests for help, including buying food for some people.

"We've got social services asking for help and support, Monmouthshire Housing Association as well, just pretty much everyone is coming to us - and that's totally fine, as we're here to help," she said.

The group has carried out 900 jobs since the middle of March, delivering medication and food, walking people's dogs and chatting to people on the phone.

Volunteers are dropping leaflets to households in the area warning people the group is not a scam.

'I'm loving it'

Image caption,
Jenni and Keith Brews are helping deliver medication in Chepstow

Since the beginning of last month more than 15,000 new volunteers have signed up to offer their services using the Volunteering Wales website, with more than 6,000 currently working.

Husband and wife Keith and Jenni Brews are volunteering in Chepstow delivering medication and food.

Jenni said: "I'm motivated by love really, I love living here, I love my community, and it's what God would have me do right now."

She added: "We have the skills and the resources, we're event managers, so we can't actually fulfil that paid role at the moment, but we can be deployed in this way, and I'm loving it."

"It's amazing what everyone is doing," said Ms Child Villiers.

She added: "I get messages every day saying thank you for what we're doing, messages from people who live on their own with no family nearby thanking us.

"I'm self-employed and a single parent and if I wasn't doing this I think it would be pretty overwhelming, and to have that sense of meaning and being able to give back to the community like that, there's no words for that, it's phenomenal".

Monmouthshire council has said it had been "overwhelmed by the support and kindness" of volunteers.