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Coronavirus Kent: Volunteers band together to help the elderly in Gillingham

Volunteers are making sure the elderly are being fed by preparing hot lunches for them.

Medical supplies distribution company Henry Schein, based in Gillingham, is using the staff canteen to prepare meals to give out to people in the area.

Henry’s Angels founders (left to right) Ellie Nightingale, Lynsey van Wyk and Lyn Yorke holding Amber Cordingley
Henry’s Angels founders (left to right) Ellie Nightingale, Lynsey van Wyk and Lyn Yorke holding Amber Cordingley

Their volunteering arm, called Henry's Angels, is appealing to anyone who wants to nominate an elderly person to receive the free meals, which will be given out daily for an initial period of three weeks.

Patrick Allen, managing director of Henry Schein Dental in the UK, said: "Henry’s Angels was formed by our Team Schein members as a long-lasting programme of volunteers to give back to the local community by supporting the most vulnerable people.

"In the situation we are currently all in, we have to stay together more than ever and our team believes that time is the most valuable commodity we can give."

The scheme is open to those living in Gillingham, Rainham, Twydall, Hempstead or Wigmore.

The volunteers are preparing the meals in line with hygiene guidelines from their premises in Gillingham Business Park and are capping the number at 50 meals a day for the time being.

For more information, email henrys.Angels@henryschein.co.uk. Please give details of any dietary requirements.

Some of the Henry's Angels volunteers
Some of the Henry's Angels volunteers

Church volunteers are also calling on people to help them expand their remit to assist those in self-isolation.

The Salvation Army in Gillingham has set up a Good Neighbour scheme, which aims to link volunteers with people, who are isolating, with their shopping or to pick up post or supplies.

They set up a website at the weekend where people can fill out a form to inform them if they would like to help, or if they are in need.

Haris Giannaros, commanding officer for the group which is based in Green Street, said: "People can go in and fill out the form to match volunteers with houses that need help with shopping, post etc.

"It went live on Sunday and by now we have a dozen volunteers but we aim to have a hundred volunteers as the need is escalating."

Those who want to volunteer will be issued with training, ID cards and will be expected to supply references.

If you are interested in volunteering or require help, and are in Gillingham, Rainham or Wigmore, you can find out more here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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