The Pioneer Group calls for help during coronavirus

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Community enterprise The Pioneer Group is leading a team of volunteers to help self-isolating, vulnerable and elderly residents of Castle Vale during the coronavirus pandemic.

Volunteer roles range from delivering food and medicines to residents in self-isolation to providing telephone chat service for those feeling lonely or anxious.

While the government has secured over 700,000 volunteers nationwide, The Pioneer Group’s staff, partners and contractors are ensuring that Castle Vale has its own volunteer army to support residents. However, the team is looking to expand and is actively looking for more volunteers for its telephone support service.

The Community Response Team is currently made up of staff and contractors from The Pioneer Group, Compass Support, Castle Vale Community Housing and The Wrekin Housing Group, alongside community organisers and residents who have offered to help.

The team is running four key activities:
– Community Response
– Community Co-ordinators
– TeleBuddy Service
– Eyes & Ears.

The Community Response Team is conducting calls with vulnerable tenants/residents to confirm that they are safe and well and to identify support needs. Residents who have requested support will receive dedicated numbers and can call for assistance with shopping, collecting medication or a friendly call.

A team of community co-ordinators have agreed to be eyes and ears on the ground and feedback any issues via WhatsApp or text message so these can be passed to the relevant teams or police if necessary.

Our Scrutiny Panel and Block Champions will listen to what their neighbours are saying/doing and feedback on any issues that residents flag.

The Telebuddy service is an adaptation of the existing Ageing Better Befriending Service which has now being extended to connect more people through phone chat. The free service is aimed at those who are self-isolating or feeling lonely and is open to anyone in Birmingham. The team behind the service will pair up volunteers and users with similar personalities so Telebuddies volunteers can offer great conversation while checking in on people’s wellbeing.

Leonie Hammond, Community Organiser Coordinator, at Compass Support, said: “With the library and community centres shut at the moment, many of us are having to adjust to a new way of living. We want to ensure that our tenants feel safe and secure.

“It’s really important that we look out for our neighbours and maintain community spirit in this difficult time. A crisis often brings out the best in people and we are so extremely proud of our volunteers. Now is the time to help your neighbours however you can, so please get in touch to help.”

The Pioneer Group is also working with Spitfire Services to support the food bank; delivering food parcels in partnership with Wrekin Housing Group to vulnerable residents. To find out more about volunteering, get in touch with Becki Winkless on 07956 007 696 and [email protected] or Leonie Hammond on 0794 307 9496 and [email protected]

Food donations are always welcome and can be left safely in the porch of Spitfire Services at Spitfire House, 10 High Street, Castle Vale, Birmingham B35 7PR, during opening hours Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm.