Launch of Ross Neighbourhood Buddies Scheme

Ross Good Neighbours (RGN) has finally launched its Neighbourhood Buddy scheme following almost six months’ delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The local charity had originally intended to establish the buddy scheme earlier this year however activities were diverted due to the pandemic. The RGN team had to swiftly re-purpose its strategy and set up operations to handle their new message line, grocery shopping team and pharmacy deliveries to support those in the community who were Covid-19 isolating, as well as providing a much needed lifeline to anyone vulnerable or lonely. 

At the start of lockdown, thanks to the Ross Baptist Church, ‘The Venue’ in Hill Street was quickly set up to deal with the grocery deliveries. A large number of trestle tables were kindly loaned by the Larruperz Centre and several fridges and freezers were provided by Enviroability, in order to deal with the growing demand for shopping services being offered to vulnerable and isolated people.

Throughout lockdown, more than 780 grocery deliveries were completed with an astonishing 2,000 medication deliveries by the Pharmacy Team (a partnership between Ross-on-Wye Community Development Trust and Ross-on-Wye’s Rotary and Lions Clubs). The Message Line team received over 1,000 telephone calls and assisted with a huge and varied number of queries from the community seeking advice and help during the pandemic.

Photo: Sarah Holmes from Spar receives a personal thank you from Ross Community Development Trust after the team’s final grocery delivery shift [L to R: Jane Roberts, Sarah Holmes, Sarah O’Neill, Elspeth Keeling]

Following the recent easing of lockdown, and with life starting to return to normal, Jane Roberts, Chair of the Ross Community Development Trust, is delighted to announce that its RGN ‘Neighbourhood Buddy’ scheme is now up and running. “Following weeks of recruiting and training, we are finally in a position to launch our Neighbourhood Buddy scheme. The aim is to provide an organised network of local volunteers or ‘buddies’ who can help vulnerable households with daily tasks such as basic paperwork, light gardening, pet care or shopping. All of our volunteer buddies are DBS checked and fully trained to ensure they can offer the best support possible to our vulnerable communities. As we start a new chapter, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in our lockdown operations, particularly our incredible team of volunteers and also Spar, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons, who provided us with the bulk of our shopping orders when we set up in March.”

The Neighbourhood Buddy scheme will operate across 11 areas in and around Ross, each supported by a dedicated team. If you, or someone you know, would benefit from assistance or help with daily chores mentioned above – or if you think you could become a buddy – please contact the Ross Good Neighbours team on their Message Line, 01989 313002, or you can email help@rosscdt.org.uk. Further information is available on the RGNS website (www.rosscdt.org.uk), on Facebook (www.facebook.com/rosscdt) or you can follow them on Twitter (@ross_cdt).

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