All week, Andover’s local radio station is broadcasting live from the Andover Isolation Help Group.
Using studio facilities at Andover Radio’s ‘Love Bus’, the radio station is investigating and promoting the work of this exceptional group which is only five weeks old.
The wholly volunteer organisation is based at the Queen Charlotte Inn which like all UK pubs was forced to close its doors to customers on March 20th. The space inside the pub has been turned into an efficient distribution centre, home to foodstuffs and home essentials for those with no other means of getting help or support during the coronavirus pandemic.
The organisation was created by local teacher Tori Rist and pub landlady Victoria Harber in early March and is assisted by 140 volunteers, may of whom help on a daily basis.
“We are working with the team at Veterans in Action“, says Group coordinator Victoria. “They are out every day collecting and delivering dried food and essential items. Here we organise the collection and delivery so it’s a growing logistics operation to ensure every is done accurately and quickly”.
Between the phone ringing, Victoria was able to explain, “We have six admins here who manage the logistics of working with Hampshire County Council, the coronavirus Helpline from Unity, Test Valley Borough Council and various other groups around the area.“
The Group has received recognition from many local authorities. For over a week now the Group has been orchestrating the collection and delivery of prescriptions for people over the age of 65.
Unlike some ‘organisations’ which have only recently been set-up with the thinly veiled purposes of self-promotion or profit , this organisation is manned entirely by volunteers who simply want to help out at this time of crisis.
John Watson and Keith Skitt have used their organisational skills to manage and administer the increasing workload of the Group. John is furloughed from his job as a facilities manager and Keith is a retired Managing Director from a multi-million dollar global organisation. It’s now thought that since they started they have delivered over 800 packages to people most at risk across the town.
The group is supported by kind donations of food and some cash support from kindly people around Andover. Last week a gentleman called John Clark simply dropped off £50 to the organisation having read about their work on loveandover.com.
This week Andover Radio will be talking to some of the people who are volunteering their services to help those really in need across the area and finding out more about the Group’s successes and difficulties.
Andover Radio’s ‘Love Bus’ pays a part in the Group’s operation. It is the distribution point for prescriptions for people over the age of 65 in Andover. Volunteers on the bus are suitably distanced while managing the efficient collection and distribution of medications from Shepherd’s Spring Medical Centre and Day Lewis on Adelaide Road.
The new efficient way of managing prescriptions means the Group is now delivering around 70 prescriptions each day.
Callers to the service are reminded to be respectful and understand the work of the Group. Victoria told Andover Radio, “We help people who cannot get out of their house for varying reasons, either they are symptomatic of Covid-19 or have other health or mobility issues.
“As well as food, medication and essentials we have been doing a few other jobs too. We have collected and delivered samples to medical staff and taken people to hospital and GP appointments. It’s a full-on varied job at the moment.”
Hear more about the Andover Isolation Help Group on 95.9FM Andover Radio each morning from 10:00am
To donate food stuffs to the Andover Isolation Help Group call 01264 748946
To hear Monday 20th April’s programme from the Andover Isolation Help Group listen below: