BURNHAM and Highbridge Coronavirus Community Support Group is reducing its manned helpline hours after helping scores of people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The group, which was set up by Neil Stringer, Sally Gilroy and Helen Groves, was established in March, built up a network of volunteers who helped people self-isolating by collecting and dropping off essentials like groceries and prescriptions, and by providing a friendly voice for people who need someone to talk to.

In the last few weeks calls to the group’s support helpline have decreased as lockdown measures have been relaxed and as a result they have reduced their manned helpline hours from 10am to 2pm from Monday to Friday.

Hel Brodie, a volunteer at Burnham and Highbridge Coronavirus Community Support Group, said the group’s success would have not have been possible without its ‘wonderful volunteers.’

“There is no doubt that those who have been using our service have been extremely grateful,” Hel said.

“We received this feedback via email this week - ‘I would like to take the opportunity to thank the local support group for their excellent service and support. The support group are doing a fantastic job and I cannot praise them enough.’

“The amount of calls is decreasing as the lockdown measures have relaxed.

“We have taken over 230 calls this month but less than 4 per of them have been at the weekend.

“With that in mind and due to the fact that some of our volunteers are now going back to work we have decided that we can easily manage the tasks required from within the community Monday through Friday.

“The community have been very grateful for what we have been able to do for them. ‘The reassurance that we are there when needed has been a great relief to the most vulnerable.”

Hel said the group will provide help to people for as long as they need it and thanked organisations from across Somerset for their support.

“As well as all the wonderful volunteers from within the community who have offered their time to help we have also been supported from those further afield too,” Hel said.

“Mushroom Management Ltd have been paying for the provision of our phone and voicemail service (allowing us to have one central number that can take up to 5 calls at anyone time) and Car Delivery Network Ltd who have provided us with a platform to log our tasks.

“We had previously used a database provided by CSW Group for which we are very grateful to.

“The Ministry of Justice also loaned us two of their staff with their own transport and in fact these two gents have been able to cover a large amount of our work but they too will be returning to their normal jobs.

“Going forward our aim is to continue to offer this service to those that require it for as long as needed.”