A free helpline has been launched to assist vulnerable Scots with their shopping deliveries during the coronavirus pandemic.
Around 500 convenience stores will be part of the initiative, called Viral Kindness Scotland, which also aims to tackle loneliness.
The community project was launched by the Sarwar Foundation, run by Labour MSP Anas Sarwar. He sent out a plea for help via Twitter on Monday, which was met with responses from a number of organisations across the country.
Do you live in Glasgow? Then please read this open letter & let me know if you can help.
There will be people in our communities who feel isolated, with little food or medicine. They may be elderly &/or unwell.
Let’s come together & use our collective resources to support them. pic.twitter.com/P8r0kCvyon
— Anas Sarwar (@AnasSarwar) March 16, 2020
Go-Centric, a business process outsourcer based in Glasgow, donated its office and staff for a 24-hour free helpline which will help to secure essential produce for those in need.
Postcards will also be distributed to stores, including Day-Today and USave, which will allow shoppers and shopkeepers to identify people in need in their local communities.
In a further statement, Sarwar said of the project: “The coronavirus outbreak has produced a community spirit across Scotland to help those most in need. Thank you to everyone working on the frontline and all those who are volunteering.
“By pulling together and by mobilising our communities, we can all look out for our families, our friends and our neighbours. Initiatives are springing up organically in communities across the country, which is heart-warming at this worrying time.
“This unique community-led project is designed to help co-ordinate the community response, involving a number of organisations which have come together to provide their services for free, bringing together volunteers, small convenience stores, and a national call centre.
“I hope it will go some way to assisting with the national response to this crisis, ensuring that we spread kindness to those most in need.”
Mohammed Rajak, owner of the Buywell Day-Today store in Bridgeton, acknowledged how shopkeepers are at the heart of local communities so are well-placed to help vulnerable people during the Covid-19 outbreak.
He said: “At times like this, we all want to play our part by spreading kindness in our communities.”
His shop is also appealing for volunteers to deliver packages to those self-isolating.
Although shopping orders should be paid for to help local businesses to continue to run, it is hoped public fundraising efforts will contribute to provide free goods for some of the country’s most vulnerable.
Vulnerable individuals in Scotland can contact the free helpline on 0800 054 2282 from 3pm today, Thursday 19 March.
A website for help with food deliveries will be launching soon.
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