GROUPS and volunteers in Redditch keen to help in the coronavirus crisis are being urged to register at https://supportredditch.net/ so efforts to cover the entire town can be coordinated.
The web address, which has full cross party support from Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats, has been created by Redditch Borough Councillor Mike Rouse.
The aim is to bring all the different Facebook groups and impromptu voluntary teams under one roof so volunteers can be vetted and ‘triaged’ with skills matched to needs wherever they’re required.
Much of the town is covered, but Mike said there were significant gaps in Headless Cross, Crabbs Cross and the Callow Hill area.
“I set the website up to help the town with the immediate need and to provide support and resources to all the Facebook groups and neighbourhoods that are working tirelessly to support their communities right now,” said Mike.
“As people will understand it is important to vet volunteers and to triage needs, which this system does.”
Politics has been paused and there’s been strong community group buy-in from Redditch’s already established Voluntary Community Sector, including Disability Support Project, Bromsgrove and Redditch Network (BARN), the Ecumenical Centre, Reach CIC, Redditch Baby Bank and newly-created #RedditchViralKindness.
“We are encouraging all community, mutual aid and neighbourhood groups to register at https://supportredditch.net/ as not everyone is on Facebook, especially the most vulnerable in society and we need a single central database so we know where to send volunteers and resources and where to send requests for help,” said Mike.
Labour local elections candidate Sharon Harvey has joined Mike as one of the administrators on the site. She said: “There are quite a few groups going on at the moment and this is trying to collate all the information.
“There is also a donation button on the site so people can help financially.
“This is definitely a service that is needed and the requests for help are being funneled towards the appropriate provider.”
Council Leader Matt Dormer added: “I understand the Government and the County Council will be helping those identified as vulnerable while at a local level we will be doing all we can.”
Liz Williams of Winyates-based Reach CIC said: “A lot of people are frightened – they may be on their own or their nearest family is in Cornwall or somewhere.
“BARN is triaging all the volunteers, which is their area of expertise, and sending them to the appropriate place.
“Church Hill Big Local has come in with a grant to cover their area and I believe the County Council is going to help.
“We now have the logistics in place and we couldn’t have done it without this website.”
For those without access to the internet, call 01527 919869 , as detailed in last week’s Redditch Standard.