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Supporting the people of Weymouth through the Keep in Touch initiative

Left to right: Julie Hursthouse (Weymouth Town Council Community Development Officer), Cllr Gill Taylor (Weymouth Town Councillor for Westham West and Dorset Councillor for Westham), Amee Clark (Iceland Store Manager Weymouth) and Dave Lovesy (volunteer)

The Keep in Touch initiative has expanded its service and can now provide boxes of essential food and other support to vulnerable residents in the Weymouth area during the current coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Keep in Touch was set up at the start of the outbreak by Cherry Clarke of Refresh; Churches Together in Weymouth and Portland, as a service for residents to contact if they needed some shopping, a prescription collecting or someone to chat to during these difficult times. Due to demand, Refresh are now working with Weymouth Town Council and the service now includes an essential food box scheme.

The box scheme is primarily for residents who are self-isolating or cannot get to the shops for whatever reason and are struggling to get deliveries of essential supplies. Each box is valued at £35 and will contain basic food items such as milk, bread, cheese, eggs plus a selection of tins and store cupboard basics plus fresh fruit and vegetables and should contain enough for one or two people for about a week. It will also contain toilet rolls! The contents of the boxes will vary on a daily basis. Keep in Touch is partnered with Iceland Stores as well as using other local shops and are also accepting donations of supplies from local businesses. The charity will make no profit from these boxes.

For access to the scheme, please contact Cherry on 07514 114680 or Julie on 07980 730029 or by email: juliehursthouse@weymouthtowncouncil.gov.uk.

Cherry Clarke from Refresh said: “We are really pleased to be able to help the community in this way during these difficult times. We couldn’t do this without our huge army of volunteers; on the other end of the phone for our residents and coming forward as volunteer drivers to help, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all. Without them we could not run this scheme.”

“We are working with Weymouth Town Council and we know we will be in this for the long haul. To keep the service running in the longer term we need ongoing donations to ensure our service is also available to the less well off. If you would like to help us or need our service please get in touch.”

Cllr Gill Taylor, Cllr for Westham West, Weymouth Town Council, said: “We are really grateful to have received £2,000 from Weymouth Town Council, along with officer support to start this scheme off which is helping with cash flow and is also being used as a hardship fund. Magna Housing have also donated £1000 to support people in financial difficulties which means that we can help even more vulnerable people.”

“We are very mindful that there will be residents who can afford the £35 per box but there are also those who may be struggling due to being laid off work or are experiencing delays in benefits coming through etc. We would encourage anyone wanting a box to come to us and we will endeavour to help you or to point you in the direction of an organisation who can help you.”

Des Lochrie from Cycling Without Age making a delivery using his trishaw