Following on from a directive from Highland Council to Community Councils in mid-March, there was
real concern from government that locally we would be gravely affected by the Coronavirus
pandemic and that an initiative was essential and speed was of the essence. A small team embarked
on setting up the Carrbridge Covid-19 Resilience Group between 19th & 26th March in what was a
very intensive period.
The call for local volunteers had over 60 stepping forward to help in a variety of capacities. In
addition, there were a number of other volunteers but they were in the vulnerable group and
couldn’t be utilised. The number of people that came forward was very gratifying.

The Group had asked for volunteers to help with shopping, dog walking, picking up chemist
prescriptions or a friendly phone call to support anyone in the community who could not attend to
these things themselves during the lockdown period.

10 volunteer call handlers were ‘trained’ on a phone app with a single Carrbridge helpline number.
We are indebted to John Walker who liaised with 3CX in the setting up our phones, managing and
resolving the inevitable, but relatively few, technical issues. This system meant we had cover for 12
hours between 8am to 8pm every day. The first call handler to respond gathering sufficient details to
enable the callers request to be fulfilled.

In the event, 100 calls have been received to date, 97 involved picking up prescriptions, the others
being requests for shopping at the Spar. We are also indebted to Ruth Walker who set up the
procedures, logs the requests and makes sure the allocated volunteers carry out the task involved.

9 volunteers agreed to take on the duty of picking up prescriptions. Initially this was done on a
rotational daily basis by 4 groups of one or two volunteers. We were fortunate to have this task
carried out by ‘families’ when the pickup was for more than one prescription. This ensured the
safety of both the recipient and the volunteers. The groups rotated on a monthly basis as it was felt
this was a big commitment for anyone to make 3 trips per week.

The months of April, May and June were covered on a daily basis. In July the trips were cut to 2 days
per week as the calls were decreasing due to more people doing their own pickups. From this week
(17 August) we are doing one trip per week to each chemist as/if required. Should an urgent request
come in then this will be attended to.

The Resilience Group are grateful for the funding provided by Carrbridge Ahead to enable us to give
our volunteers a token of appreciation for all the journeys they undertook. This was in the form of a
Tesco Gift Voucher with the volunteers receiving a token pro-rata to the miles travelled calculated at
20p per mile.

These volunteers covered a combined total of 1456 miles between 27th March and 31st July,

Despite a drop in demand, The Highland Council have asked the Resilience Group to continue, since
there are concerns that the services may be required again.

The Resilience Group are indebted to all volunteers for the commitment they undertook and
continue to do so.

Andrew Kirk, Ruth Walker, Alison Murray.