VOLUNTEERS in Ross-on-Wye have risen to the challenge of providing support to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Ross Good Neighbour Scheme was launched early this year with the aim of establishing a network of volunteers to across the town.

The project was the brainchild of former mayor Jane Roberts. This concept of supporting the local voluntary sector was first mooted in 2018, with the first tangible progress seen in May 2019.

Work was well under way to establish the scheme this year when the Covid-19 pandemic struck Italy.

So the organisers shifted their focus to getting ready to support more vulnerable in the town.

The volunteers provide a wide range of services from grocery delivery, to looking after pets and delivering medicine to those in need.

They make about 40 daily shopping deliveries and also provides phone friends, people who call people every day to check up on them.

The volunteers can also check up on patients released from hospital who may have unique requirements. They can also help with looking after pets.

The Ross Good Neighbour scheme is also working with the town’s Rotary and Lions Clubs to provide a pharmacy delivery service to those who are unable to collect their prescriptions.

They have also purchased 20 pulse oximeters and distributed around Ross.

Ten volunteers have also finished sewing 110 scrub bags which have been handed over to local care agencies and care homes.

They are now working on producing 200 face masks for use by their shopping delivery, pharmacy and home from hospital volunteers.

Tim Barrett, of the Ross Community Development Trust, said: “To date, we have orchestrated 270 deliveries to 150 households, running at some 50 – 60 orders per week, from our centre at The Venue.

“We have now refined and developed our system and would consider our process to be highly efficient.

“Home deliveries around Ross are provided by both our volunteers and, when required, the town council vehicle and crew.

“Spar has proven to be most supportive, providing an excellent service right from the outset.

“We are now engaged with Morrisons to assist us in a bid to reduce costs for our community.”

The volunteers also provide support to neighbouring parishes such as Bridstow, Brampton Abbotts/Foy, Upton Bishop, Weston-under-Penyard and Walford.

People who need help or wish to contribute should call 01763 802046 and then press 2 to leave a voicemail.

Someone will then get back to them.