40 days ago
Along with impact to businesses, charities and the public sector, the Coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak has also devastated our local communities, separating people emotionally and physically through social distancing measures and ultimately affecting the vulnerable the most.
Fiona Shields, Transformation Director for Sodexo UK & Ireland, was quick to off the mark to see what she could do to help those most in need in and around the area where she lives.
Since the beginning of the outbreak, Fiona has been volunteering her time for the New Milton Covid Support group.
The community group was set up quickly at the beginning of the Coronavirus pandemic with an aim to ensure there is sufficient support for the most vulnerable, including the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, during the outbreak.
“I have only lived here for 18 months, so it has been a great opportunity to virtually meet some local people and also help me feel like I was doing something worthwhile and useful at a time when I feel pretty useless!”, Fiona says.
With now more than 200 volunteers signed up, the group is now supporting over 350 registered users of the service. The volunteers help with the likes of:
Being a phone buddy;
Running errands - such as posting a letter or collecting medication;
And dog walking.
Fiona has personally been an active member of the community group’s helpline by registering and taking requests for support. As someone who started her career as a customer services advisor, Fiona knew this is a task her skills could be used for.
Pictured: Fiona's home set up for when she is on the helping taking requests for support
The requests go through to other members of the team who will help coordinate the activity and assign a volunteer to fulfil the task. 18 volunteers help to cover the helpline, which is currently open 7 days a week from 9:00am to 8:00pm.
“I have now covered about 60 hours of helpline cover since 9 April, mainly at weekends and sometimes during the evening”, adds Fiona.
With help from her husband, the couple have also been assigned activities as part of the helpline process, including prescription collections and shopping deliveries. The wider volunteering team have also helped to provide food parcels to local families and worked alongside other organisations to support vulnerable members of the community.
The coming together of people to help those more at risk than themselves is an amazing thing to see, especially at a time where we are supporting each other to move through this crisis and into the future. Thank you to Fiona for stepping up to support where she can and showing that Sodexo’s leaders are also doing their bit to rise again.
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