Tributes paid to Coventry’s coronavirus volunteers

A huge community effort has ensured Coventry’s most vulnerable residents are being looked after during the coronavirus crisis.

Tributes have been paid to the volunteers behind a huge community effort to ensure Coventry’s most vulnerable residents are being looked after during the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the past month, a 150-strong team of volunteers from CV Life, UK City of Culture and Culture Coventry have joined forces for Operation Shield – which is being led by CV Life in conjunction with Coventry City Council.

It has seen volunteers carrying out a range of activities from calling vulnerable residents on the NHS database to check if they need any assistance, through to collecting and delivering groceries and medication.

Wendy Jackson, community manager at charity CV Life, who has been helping to manage the team of volunteers, has spoken of her pride in the team effort since the pandemic began.

“Operation Shield is a seven-day-a-week operation and some of our volunteers are up at 6am and doing up to ten-hour shifts, day in, day out, to ensure the elderly and those with underlying health conditions have what they need”, she said.

“This might be essential food and drink, vital medicines, or just a listening ear.

“So far our food packers and delivery drivers have delivered upwards of 120 food parcels a day – or more than 3,500 food parcels in a month – which is a monumental effort and the whole team deserves a pat on the back for the brilliant work that they have been doing.”

CV Life also operates four leisure centres across the city, including the Alan Higgs Centre, which is playing its part in the fight against coronavirus.

Wendy added: “We have a brilliant partnership with Asda in Whitley whereby our delivery drivers collect groceries from the store early every day and deliver it to the Alan Higgs Centre where our team of packers prepare food packages from 8am.

“Operation Shield is an ever-evolving initiative as we are also working with West Midlands Police and the Trussell Trust food bank charity to identify any vulnerable residents who may need help too.”

Cllr Mal Mutton, cabinet member for adult services, Coventry City Council, said: “We have had an extended period of social isolation and social distancing but all of the agencies involved in Operation Shield have shown a continued commitment to helping others.

“I’m not surprised by the amazing efforts of every volunteer. They really are doing an excellent job at such a difficult time.”

Those wishing to register for support for Operation Shield should visit: gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable.