With Croydon Voluntary Action (CVA) signing up over 700 volunteers this week and Croydon Covid-19 Mutual Aid (CCMA) mobilising thousands across the borough, there is no shortage of people wanting to help. 

The challenge is to balance this voluntary effort with social distancing and to coordinate it so that, if things get worse, we’re all working together to make sure that well advised and supported volunteers are getting supplies to the people who need them most, writes Steve Phaure, chief executive of CVA. 

For now CCMA, the foodbanks and community groups like Revivify, Good Food Matters and Age UK are just getting on with it. 

Like CVA they are handling food enquiries and delivering bags of food and cooked meals to people, some of whom are very ill. The big problem is supplies – not  just food but PPE equipment. 

Luckily more people are donating and on Saturday morning (28 March) the CVA Resource Centre was open from 8am to collect deliveries organised by local councillors. 

That day also saw the first Government delivery to Croydon Council, charged with getting supplies to those on the NHS’ extremely vulnerable list. 

Thereafter the food industry warehouses will start delivering, but one unknown at this stage is whether any supplies will be left over for the foodbanks, CCMA, CVA and our community partners to deliver to those people not categorised as vulnerable or at risk – people outside the system – but still very much in need. So our main call out at this stage is for supplies. 

We’re being contacted by people needing support and we have the volunteers to provide it – we just need the food and household goods topped up regularly. 

To make donations please contact us on 0208 253 1268 on Monday to Friday between 10am and 3pm or email Shalina.Alabaksh@cvalive.org.uk.  

Additionally, CVA is coordinating the community sector effort to maintain social connections across the borough by:

•Compiling a directory of services and activities still running. Email connectwellcroydon@cvalive.org.uk with brief details of whatever support your group is managing to provide?

•Running a telephone helpline for vulnerable people who need support to contact: 0208 253 7076.

•Signing up volunteers. Please complete and submit the form to our Volunteer Centre team who will contact you between 10am and 4pm from Monday to Friday.

•Sending out weekly newsletters updating organisations on ‘live’ services in the borough and funding opportunities linked to the outbreak.Sign up to receive it at https://cvalive.org.uk/join-us/