More than 37,000 meals have been delivered so far to Renfrewshire residents during lockdown.
Support packs including freshly prepared meals, toiletries and dry goods like cereal and tea bags are being distributed daily to more than 1,200 households by Renfrewshire Council.
Teams from across the council, which includes redeployed staff, have been prepping and cooking fresh meals, packing bags, procuring items, managing the request hotline and delivering food parcels to the doors of those most in need in the community, all while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
The large-scale, seven-day operation to get supplies to individuals and families in need is being undertaken by staff in dedicated distribution sites at Castlehead and Park Mains High Schools. The work being done is receiving an outpouring of support from the local community.
One service-user recovering from COVID-19 was delighted with her parcel. She contacted the team and said: “You can’t believe what a big smile it put on my face.” She added that she felt “very lucky to be looked after.”
Another service user contacted the helpline with an urgent request for a delivery for her family. The team turned the request around in less than 24 hours and included Easter eggs in the parcel for her three children. The customer offered a very warm thank you to staff saying she was grateful she now had Easter eggs to give to her children.
This represents a combined effort by teams and individuals across the council coming together to provide this vital service to the community.
Facilities Manager, Seonaid O’Neil, was responsible for setting up the service. She said: “It’s been a combined effort, so many people have been willing to help. Everyone recognises the benefit of what we’re doing.
“It’s challenging but it’s also really rewarding. When we started we didn’t realise how big it would become, but when you get feedback from people in the community it really makes you take notice of the positive impact it’s having. We are so proud of how all our staff have adapted to the new challenges they have been faced with, to ensure these services are delivered ”
The teams at these sites are working hard to deliver this service but are also making the most of their downtime. At Park Mains High School a sponsored charity cycle has been set up to raise funds for Brightest Star that staff can participate in by using exercise bikes from the gym. The more musically gifted team members have been performing songs for the team to keep spirits up.
Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “We are proud that our staff are delivering essential food supplies to support vulnerable people across Renfrewshire. Their dedication and support has been incredible and I’d like to thank each and every staff member doing their bit to help those most in need within our communities.
“Across our communities, there are a lot of people going above and beyond to support family members and neighbours through this difficult time. For anyone who doesn’t have this support, they can get in touch with us by calling our local assistance helpline on 0300 300 0230.”
The team continue to respond to growing demand for the service, with a third distribution site set to open next week at Gleniffer High School. The site will be operated by Amey with Renfrewshire Council overseeing the operation.
The local assistance helpline is available to anyone who needs it whether it be for financial reasons or for those currently shielding. Anyone in need of help is encouraged to contact the helpline on 0300 300 0230.
A number of partners have played an important role in supported the service including businesses based locally including Ikea at Braehead and The Range on Renfrew Road.
In addition to the work being carried out by the council, partner organisation Renfrewshire Leisure is helping promote a range of positive health and wellbeing activities for residents to participate in at home. Popular activities include online dance and sports workouts, online Bookbug sessions streamed via YouTube and fun social media challenges. For a full list of all the activities taking place please visit: www.renfrewshireleisure.com/wellbeing-at-home/.