Alvechurch Parish council last night agreed to grant £1,500 to help the Alvechurch Cares initiative provide support to vulnerable villagers in the parish during the coronavirus crisis.
The monthly council meeting, held via digital video conferencing for the first time, voted unanimously to support Alvechurch Cares, which as of yesterday had already taken calls from 55 people asking for help.
There had been a fantastic response from villagers offering to help, with 147 people already registered as potential volunteers, nine of whom were already able to go out to help, with four more “in the pipeline”.
Kirsty Cooke, one of the organisers of Alvechurch Cares, told councillors: “The phone line was set up last Wednesday. People can access the service in three ways; via phone, email or Facebook.
“Telephone is by far the most popular way of contacting us and people are asking for two main areas: prescription collection and food collection.”
Kirsty added: “Our biggest issue is that we are coming across people who tell us they have no physical cash in their homes to pay for services. They are able to pay in some way, but not in cash.
“We have taken a couple of calls from people who are not able to pay the shopper.”
District councillor Annette English, who is one of the Alvechurch Care organisers, said: “There are issues around how we go about paying. We have had two occasions where volunteers have done the shopping and then they go to the door and the person has said they don’t have any cash.”
Kirsty added that ideally electronic payments could be taken, at some point, because of concerns that the virus could be carried on banknotes and it also removed other questions that could arise from using cash.
The parish council decided that a £1,500 grant, to go into a new bank account, would help to smooth the cashflow problems before they prevented help reaching vulnerable people in the parish.
Alvechurch Cares is already being run with the backing of the parish council, whose insurers have agreed to cover the volunteers, the meeting heard.
It means all literature carries the parish council logo, and Kirsty said: “The fact it is under the banner of the parish council is a very positive thing. Because it has parish council support, people trust the services.”
Parish Chairman Marc Worrall said: “I am delighted to hear that the parish council is seen as a trusted friend.
“I hope this grant will give clarity and comfort to the volunteers who are out there such good work.”
Contact Alvechurch Cares by the methods below: