TELEPHONE 'befrienders' are among the community volunteers being sought in Helensburgh, and across Argyll and Bute, as efforts to help those in most need during the coronavirus 'lockdown' show no sign of slowing up.

The call for people who can volunteer to help vulnerable residents is being co-ordinated by the Argyll and Bute 'third sector interface' (TSI), which has opened an online portal inviting people in Helensburgh and Lomond and beyond to register as a volunteer.

The portal went live earlier this week, with the first few opportunities posted to the TSI’s Facebook page.

Another need identified in the first wave of volunteering opportunities is for people who can collect and deliver shopping and prescriptions for those who are unable to leave their homes.

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For the latter, volunteers must be under 60 years of age and hold a currently-valid PVG (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) certificate.

Efforts to organise volunteer help across Argyll and Bute have been mirrored closer to home as community help campaigns continue to try and ensure help is provided to those who need it most.

The Toy Shop in Helensburgh (01436 677500) and the Rosslea Hall Hotel in Rhu (01436 439955) are still available as a point of initial contact for people who don’t have internet access and need to contact someone to ask for help.

The founders of the ‘Helping Helensburgh’ group on Facebook, featured on this site last week, have thanked those who have rallied round to come to the aid of those in greatest need.

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In a statement on their page, the group’s founder, Angela Fleming, said: “Thank you to this caring community, local businesses and groups who are doing everything they can to pull together and see each other through the current situation.

“Together we have already helped several people and I hope we will help more who need us.

“It’s a difficult time for us all as we find a ‘new normal’, but by continuing to work like the amazing community we are, we will all get through this.”

Beyond Helensburgh, members of Rhu and Shandon Community Council are organising local offers of help for elderly and vulnerable residents during the coronavirus lockdown.

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A spokesperson told the Advertiser: “We have a superb community spirit within Rhu and Shandon and we have found people are mainly pulling together and caring for neighbours by various measures.

“However, we do recognise there are a few of the elderly and some vulnerable residents who are disengaged from modern day electronic technology, and perhaps with little or no mobility, who may need supportive help, even a telephone chat if they are feeling anxious or lonely.

“If a distant relative is worried about a loved one, let us know and we can keep an eye on them.

“We will instantly help where we can, we are happy to spread some kindness but working within the guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus is recognised as being the priority.”

People in Cardross who would like to offer help are being invited to join the ‘Cardross Cares’ group on Facebook, while if you live on the Peninsula and would like to do likewise, you can volunteer your services, again on Facebook, at ‘Peninsula Coronavirus Support & Assistance’.

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