Shops and community groups across the Western Isles are making moves to ensure that nobody gets left alone or in want as the impacts of coronavirus begin to make themselves felt.
In Tong, the community hall is closing to bookings and groups for the foreseeable future, but the committee are getting together to plan support for vulnerable neighbours and those in self-isolation.
Their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/207557566481020/?fref=nf is one place to go for help, with a statement today saying: “Please also get in touch if any vulnerable members in the village need help. The TRA will do all they can to support anyone who needs help, shopping or just a chat on the phone if they are self-isolating. No one is in this alone!”
They’re looking at word-of-mouth contacts through churches and other organisations as well as at social media solutions, such as a WhatsApp group for neighbours to call for help.
Members of Tiumpanhead Community Association in Point are offering individual support to their neighbours in the Aird district via their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TiumpanHeadCommunityAssosiation/
Some shops also aim to reassure regular customers that they will be able to get what they need – whether they need to self-isolate or not.
Stag Bakeries has issued an appeal for good sense as their mobile shop heads out on the road to supply essentials to regular customers in out-of-town areas.
Posting on Saturday, they said: “Please be mindful when using our mobile shop. The mobile shop is a lifeline to many of our island’s most vulnerable elderly and some housebound, this is the only means they have of getting their weekly shopping.
“It is enough of a challenge to provide this service out of a van without the need to impose ‘rations’ on certain items. The van serves the same areas Monday to Friday and, while we always welcome new customers, we have an established regular customer base.
“We currently have plenty stock of everything – toilet roll included – and have no reason to think our supply is going to run out. If everybody just does what they always do there will be plenty to go round and we will not run out!! Please don’t make us have to ration.”
The Co-op convenience store on Cromwell Street had a similar message, subscribing to a national advert on behalf of supermarket retailers. The message asks all shoppers to be considerate in the way they shop. It reads: “We understand your concerns, but buying more than is needed can sometimes mean that others will be left without.
“There is enough for everyone if we all work together.” The Stornoway Co-op described it as “a really important message – show you care and share.”