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Coronavirus Kent: Maidstone Riverside Rotary Club helps at Covid-19 assessment centre and community hub

Rotary club members have been helping marshal patients at a Covid-19 assessment unit.

One of Maidstone Riverside's Rotary Club members is also a trustee at the town's leisure centre, and so when the NHS suggested erecting an assessment unit in the car park, Riverside was one of the first asked for volunteers.

Volunteers helping at the Covid-19 assessment centre when it was based at Mote Park
Volunteers helping at the Covid-19 assessment centre when it was based at Mote Park

Due to a reduced demand for the unit - set up to ease pressure on GP surgeries - a smaller centre has now been built at Barming Surgery, the rotary club moving too.

President of the club Paul Wray is one of several who put themselves forward to help out.

The 65-year-old does around three four-hour shifts a week, monitoring cars coming in, telling them where to park and making sure patients maintain social distancing.

Students have also been giving up their time to help at the centre, working alongside Rotarians.

There are normally just a handful of visitors to the sites every day, which Mr Wray says is a good sign.

President of Maidstone Riverside, Paul Wray
President of Maidstone Riverside, Paul Wray

Maidstone Riverside and another of the town's rotary clubs, Dawn Patrol, are also helping out with deliveries of food and essentials to vulnerable residents.

They have teamed up with Maidstone Borough Council, volunteering at the community hub. Parcels are prepped by council workers, who then call volunteers to see who is free to make a drop-off.

In total, there are around 15 volunteers and more than 600 packages have so far been delivered in over a month.

Mr Wray said: "Sometimes we do three, four or five drop-offs per session. It depends where they are all going.

"People are so eager to help, when a delivery comes up we all say 'pick me, pick me'. We do it because we want to put something back into the community."

Mr Wray added Maidstone Riverside is always looking for new members, especially younger people. If you'd like to find out more about becoming a member visit the website by clicking here.

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