Felpham emergency group is source of ‘relief’ for residents during coronavirus pandemic

Volunteers in Felpham have been busy helping residents during the coronavirus pandemic.

From delivering essential items to being a friendly voice on the end of the phone, a team of 40 volunteers has helped more than 50 people in need. Photo: Sabine van Erpa/Pixabay
From delivering essential items to being a friendly voice on the end of the phone, a team of 40 volunteers has helped more than 50 people in need. Photo: Sabine van Erpa/Pixabay

From delivering essential items to being a friendly voice on the end of the phone, a team of 40 volunteers, co-ordinated by the Felpham Emergency Resilience Group (FERG), has helped more than 50 people in need.

Dave Smart, joint co-ordinator, said: “In the last week, we’ve delivered well over 50 prescriptions after picking them up from pharmacies. About 95 per cent of calls are to do with medication. We’ve given guidance on paying for shopping as we can’t engage in any financial exchange.

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“We’ve offered telephone support to people feeling lonely. The overriding response is a sense of relief. It is very important to them.”

FERG was launched four years ago specifically to support the community during an emergency.

In that time, the group have been deployed to major fires in a Bognor Regis hotel and the Westhamptnett tip.

Dave added: “Very few areas have an emergency response team. We’re affiliated with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service so they contacted us direct.

“We’re there and always looking to recruit members.

“It’s really great to have residents to call upon who can come out and help their neighbours.”

Dave also stressed that there is not a ‘geographical boundary’.

He explained: “Some of our deliveries are not in Felpham. We’ve also gone into Middleton and Elmer.

“One of the phone calls I received was from someone 40 miles away worried about their parents who lived in Felpham. They asked if we could do something for them and we sorted that out very quickly. It’s surprising that our little group gets heard about wide and far.”

FERG is working closely with West Sussex County Council, which has established a community hub to co-ordinate the work of volunteer groups, including FERG, all over the county.

People who are self-isolating and need assistance should call 0330 2227980. FERG is then contacted when the request for help is appropriate.

FERG leader Gloria Moss said: “We are supporting our local community in many ways and our volunteers – many of whom are new to FERG – are fantastic; offering their time, compassion and practical support just because they want to help others.”

To join the group, email Felpham Parish Council at [email protected]

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