Emergency food parcels are being distributed to some of Bristol’s most vulnerable residents thanks to the efforts of volunteers.
Of more than 300 people who are being shielded because they are most at risk of serious illness if they catch coronavirus, 53 had no supplies or support.
Volunteers and Bristol City Council staff spent Saturday morning packing up individual bags of food to be distributed to those who need it most by taxi drivers. The produce was supplied by the Government.
Welcoming the fast work of those involved, mayor Marvin Rees said: “Protecting the most vulnerable people in our communities from the threat of the coronavirus outbreak is the responsibility of everyone. Working in partnership with central Government and local volunteers, we are doing all we can to shield the most at risk people though making sure they have food and support.
“The preparation and distribution of these food packages has been a collaboration between government, the council, local volunteers, and taxi drivers and provides the perfect example of how by working together we can help those who need it most.”
More than 3,000 people have now offered volunteer support during the coronavirus pandemic via the council’s Can Do Bristol website.
Andy Parker, a climate change researcher at the University of Bristol, is one of the 75 volunteers who were on hand to help on Saturday.
He said: “This is an unprecedented crisis and like so many other people I want to lend a hand. I would absolutely encourage other people to volunteer. It’s a real chance to do something positive.
“The council have made sure everything is sterile and provided gloves, so all volunteers and the people we are helping will be safe.”
The council says it is also working with local groups, including St Mungo’s and Julian Trust, to find accommodation for people who are homeless and other vulnerable groups that allows them to self-isolate during the crisis, as well as receive the food, support and medicines they need.
Shielding is a measure being used during the pandemic to protect people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to serious illness so must restrict interaction with others. These individuals have been advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact for a period of at least 12 weeks.
Tesco provided trolleys and plastic bags for the teams to use.
All photos courtesy of Bristol City Council