Ottery’s ‘inspirational’ community helpers thanked for their work

Volunteers made hundreds of shopping trips for people unable to leave their homes. Picture: Getty

Volunteers made hundreds of shopping trips for people unable to leave their homes. Picture: Getty - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Hundreds of people who put themselves forward to help those in need in Ottery during lockdown have been thanked by their co-ordinating team.

The organisers of the Ottery Community Volunteers published their message of gratitude on Facebook, at the end of Volunteers Week.

The Community Volunteers were formed in March when an appeal for people to help elderly and vulnerable residents, and those who were self-isolating, attracted a ‘staggering’ response.

In their joint statement, organisers Dean Stewart, Vicky Johns and Stewart Lucas said:

“In the first two weeks we had over 400 volunteers.

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“Not all of those people were available due to age, health, work etc, but we had a core team of 200 who we moved forwards with.

“Some volunteered for admin and IT roles, some answered the phone and others went shopping or to the pharmacies.

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“We had requests to trim rose bushes, help deal with an exploded kettle, find specific gluten free items when the shelves were bare, walk dogs….

“We had shopping lists which ranged from one tin of cat food to about £125 worth of goods. And our volunteers kept on looking at ways we could improve what we were doing and help more people.”

The Ottery Community Volunteers helped 337 different families and their activities included more than 500 prescription deliveries and around 300 shopping trips.

With lockdown restrictions now being lifted, fewer requests for help are coming in and some of the volunteers are returning to work, but there are still plenty of people standing by to help if needed.

The co-ordinators also want the support network to continue into the future, on hand not just for emergencies, but to assist any residents, businesses and other organisations, and help with the staging of events. They are currently working out how best to make this happen.

Their statement concluded: “You are inspirational and we thank you.

“On behalf of Ottery St Mary and all the people around us that you have touched – thank you.”

Anyone who has not been part of the team so far, but would like to join, can call 01404 600013, email, or visit for more details.

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