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Community spirit helps provide targeted support to those in need

We have received many offers of help from the local community, asking how they can support those in need during the coronavirus outbreak. It's fantastic to see such community spirit from the people of our borough, but it's important that voluntary support is done in a safe and coordinated way. We have asked Voluntary Action South West Surrey to take on the vital role of coordinating this in our area and their contact details are below.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Caroline Reeves says: "It's heartening to see our residents pulling together through these unprecedented times, showing such community spirit. It is fantastic to see that something like this brings out the best in our communities and we have had many offers of help and support from individuals and organisations. I'd like to say thank you to each and every one of you. We know it is really important that any voluntary support is done in a safe and coordinated way, as we are already receiving reports from other boroughs and the Citizen's Advice Bureau regarding scammers taking advantage of vulnerable people.

"If you are aware of anyone in your community who needs support or wants to volunteer please refer them to Voluntary Action South West Surrey on 01483 565456 or volunteercentresws@vasws.org.uk."

Carol Dunnett, Chief Officer for Voluntary Action South West Surrey, said: "We are incredibly pleased to see the compassion shown already in Guildford with people rallying offers of help for groups that due to the outbreak might now be isolated and at risk. If you or anyone you know would like help or need help or know someone who would benefit from help - please get in touch. We also have the skills and experience to advise groups on how to offer safe and coordinated help for example getting Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) criminal record checks."

She added: "Please do be aware that every offer of help is valuable. We currently have more offers of help than we have those to help but this is changing every day. Please bear with us if we aren't able to connect you with others who need help immediately. This is a marathon rather than a sprint, please rest assured we will coordinate as soon as those in need are all identified and will be in touch."

Published on Wednesday 18 March.