A typical day used to involve teaching survival skills on a remote moor, or paddling his canoe down the Carrick Roads, but Stacey Allsop is now one of a huge team of volunteers that are delivering prescriptions to people who are shielding or self-isolating due to Covid-19.
Army Veteran Stacey is a member of Band of Brothers, an award-winning charity helping young men grow and develop, as well as an instructor at a local Survival School. When Covid-19 hit the UK, his usual work was cancelled so he decided to focus his efforts on how he could help his local community.
Within days of being in contact with Volunteer Cornwall, he was delivering prescriptions for Green Lane Pharmacy in Redruth, and to date has delivered over 500 prescriptions to people who are isolating or shielding and are unable to leave the house.
Though prescriptions are the main bulk of deliveries, he has been asked to do some food shopping for someone with a broken arm, and also dismantled a bed for a lady who was returning from a stay in hospital and needed a hospital bed at home.
‘When I deliver to people for the first time, they’re initially guarded and tend to shout out the window, asking who I am.’
‘Once I introduce myself and tell them I’m delivering their prescription, they often crumble. They’re so grateful to receive it, and numerous times I’ve been told that they only have 2 or 3 days of medication left and they were worried they’d run out.’
Stacey is often visiting people who have not seen anyone in over 3 weeks, ‘I’ve found that they don’t want me to leave so I make sure I make the time to sit on the wall in their garden (at a distance!) and have a good old chat. It’s a real joy to see their faces light up.’
‘I often ask them if they need anything else, but most seem to be well looked after by post office staff or neighbours getting them supplies.’
Often finding the houses are a challenge in itself, down winding lanes and roads without signposts. ‘I find them with a mix of local knowledge, sat nav and luck!’ he explains.
Stacey is part of over 2000 Cornish residents who have volunteered to help those in need during the Covid-19 crisis. Co-ordinated by Volunteer Cornwall, the volunteers are delivering food and medicines to thousands of vulnerable and elderly people, providing support and reassurance to the frightened and anxious, helping people discharged from hospital, supporting food banks and charities, walking dogs and driving people to medical appointments.
As we all navigate these strange and anxious times, Stacey explains how his volunteering role has affected him, ‘If you take a few extra minutes of calm and clarity, and have a chat, it really does make the difference to them. In amongst all this darkness and fear, there have been real moments of gold.’