Clapping for the Wilton COVID-19 Volunteers

Published: 09 April 2020

The Ancient Capital of Wessex is leading the battle against COVID-19. Over 100 volunteers have rolled up their sleeves to help those isolating or shielded in the Town - helping with shopping, prescriptions, transport, errands and reassurance calls.

The Mayor of Wilton, Ivan Seviour, explains: “as Mayor of Wilton during this difficult time, I have been totally humbled by the enthusiastic community response to help our neighbours. The Town Council was aware of a group of volunteers who were helping the vulnerable in our community and we wanted to offer support. The Town Clerk, his Assistant and a couple of founding volunteers; one highly skilled in the health sector and another with amazing IT skills devised a system that uses phones, mobile devices, tablets and PCs. This enabled help to be given to the vulnerable in our community in a very efficient way. The COVID-19 Wilton Help scheme now has well over 100 registered volunteers who respond to calls. To have that many volunteers willing to help the more vulnerable in our community is amazing and the commitment, resilience, perseverance and dedication of those volunteers and councillors should be applauded.”

Larissa Tonkin, one of the original band of volunteers, added “after discussion at two council meetings and 5 days of intense work, Wilton HELP was born. The Council’s assistance has been invaluable in developing from a purely volunteer lead group to an infrastructure capable of supporting the whole town. With the Council behind us, we have been able to remove risks and scale up from four call handlers to twenty four – to do this in 5 days is a tribute to the willingness of Wilton to support its own.”

The new Wilton COVID-19 Helpline was launched on 30th March and since then it has clocked up nearly 1000 calls. The team have delivered 315  prescriptions, undertaken 270 shopping trips, ran 75 errands and made over 50 reassurance calls to isolated residents in the Town.

Steve Milton, Town Clerk, explains how the system works: “Its pretty simple; we take calls between 9.00am and 1.00pm every day of the week. The calls are logged on our home grown Wilton HELP system. Volunteers can view the requests, choose those they can help with and carry out the task. If they incur costs, they are reimbursed from the Town emergency fund and an invoice sent to the client. It’s working really smoothly.  We have briefed the volunteers to keep everyone safe using our online training guide which is updated as Government advice shifts.'

Larissa added: “there was a lot of pressure on the chemists in Wilton, so, in consultation with the GPs and Lloyds we have introduced a batch system for collecting prescriptions. This has really helped cut the queues and keep people safe. On busy days we are collecting and delivering over 20 prescriptions”

Mayor Seviour reflected: “The gratitude of those receiving these lovely acts of kindness has been overwhelming – one lady said that she would be clapping for the Wilton Volunteers on Thursday. As Mayor, I know we will celebrate, when the time is right, and recognise the community of Wilton who responded in such a positive way to support those in need at this difficult time. Wilton is wonderful.”

Residents of Wilton can access this service by calling the Wilton COVID-19 Helpline: 01722 695331.

Find out more about the Wilton C19 scheme shere