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Coronavirus Kent: Super neighbours in Deal and Dover swing into action to help the isolated


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Volunteers have swung into action to ensure the most vulnerable in society can still access food, medication and support throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

A call for 'super neighbours' by Dover & Deal MP Natalie Elphicke and Dover District Council leader Cllr Trevor Bartlett, last month, saw almost 50 volunteers sign up in the first few days.

These residents are now helping those who cannot leave their homes with their shopping needs, prescription collections and also friendly chats.

The campaign, backed by KentOnline's sister paper The Mercury, is being co-ordinated by Beverley-Jayne Last, known to many as a community first responder.

She matches volunteers with people in need of a helping hand.

Mrs Last said: "I had no hesitation in lending mine and my husband Paul's support when contacted.

"Our role is to qualify someone’s immediate needs; whether it be shopping for food, urgent needs such as prescriptions being collected from a pharmacy or simply a welfare call and a kind chat over the phone.

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Co-ordinator Beverley-Jayne Last helps assign each volunteer to a person requiring a helping hand
Co-ordinator Beverley-Jayne Last helps assign each volunteer to a person requiring a helping hand

"Volunteers are then selected who live close by and can meet the needs of the neighbour requesting our help. Matches are made, Super Neighbours are informed of their tasks and the neighbours are called to confirm who will be taking care of their needs.

"We are very aware that these neighbours are often scared of strangers or lonely, so everything is done to re-assure them of their safety.

"Many were reluctant to come to us for help in the first place but their situations got to the point where they had no option."

Mental health support is also available via Tracy Carr, leader of the Talk It Out hub, along with a callback service to ensure all jobs have run smoothly.

MP Natalie Elphicke said: "The response to Super Neighbours and the way so many groups and communities have swung into action to help others out makes me so proud.

Jo has been helping provide food shopping to those who are unable to leave their homes
Jo has been helping provide food shopping to those who are unable to leave their homes

"We know the next few months will not be easy.

"Yet with the strength of our community and the fellowship that we provide to each other I know that we won’t simply get through it – we will emerge stronger than ever, ready to forge an amazing future for our community and country in the years and decades to come."

Special credit has been given to to Mrs Last.

Mrs Elphicke added: "Beverley-Jayne has done an amazing job and we’ve had so much positive feedback from all the people who are being helped by the Super Neighbours.”

Join the Super Neighbour scheme here

Read more: All the latest news from Deal

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