More than 600 volunteers in Bridgend county borough have come forward to offer their help to those in need during the coronavirus pandemic.

Registering with the Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO), people have signed up to befriend and check on their welfare of residents, go shopping for those who need it, take patients home from hospital, collect prescriptions and help out in community kitchens and foodbanks.

BAVO’s chief executive Heidi Bennett said:

“We are working through all the registered individuals, offering them free online training and directing them either to local community groups or preparing them in case they are asked to support certain services.

“With their help we have been able to help hundreds of residents across the county borough.

“We not only take local authority referrals but also self-referrals from the general public from which we receive a high proportion of our calls.

“We have also received calls from as far away as Australia and Canada, from people who are concerned about their relatives living here and want us to ensure they’re ok.

“Meanwhile, a £10,000 grant we received from the Martin Lewis Money Saving Expert Fund has already started to be distributed, with the Talbot Centre in Kenfig Hill,  Caerau Development Trust and the Bridgend Foodbank each receiving a portion of the fund.”

The Leader, Cllr Huw David said:

“This is a tremendous response from our local community, a huge thank you to those who have volunteered so far.

“We greatly appreciate the willingness of so many to help others in need at this time.”

Local groups and social enterprises working at a street and community level are invited to apply for Welsh Government grants of up to £1,000 to help them continue and expand their support for people who are most at need at this time.

The grants are being administered by BAVO.

The funding can also be used for smaller capital or revenue expenditure including items such as personal protective equipment. However, the request must fit in with the grant aims of maintaining or increasing voluntary services for vulnerable individuals and communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The deadline for applications is April 30 and grants must be fully utilised within six months.

For more details or an application form visit https://www.bavo.org.uk/news/introducing-bavos-covid-19-local-emergency-support-fund or email [email protected]

Only not-for-profit third sector organisations can apply.

Anyone interested in signing up to become a volunteer can visit https://bridgend.volunteering-wales.net/vk/volunteers/index.htm, email [email protected] or call 01656 810400.

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