Last Updated: 13 Apr 2020 10:55am
Parking enforcement officers from Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council are proving they’re all heart as they switch to delivering food parcels to those at highest risk from coronavirus.
The officers, who normally spend their days issuing tickets to drivers, are now enjoying a more welcome reception as they provide essential supplies to older and vulnerable residents across the borough. The scheme was set up to support a nationwide policy of ‘shielding’ more than a million people with health conditions which make them especially susceptible to the virus.
So far, around 150 food parcels have been delivered to those who are clinically vulnerable and who lack family or friends who could otherwise help, in some cases because they too are in isolation. The team are part of a small army of council staff and community volunteers who are helping ensure that vulnerable people can follow government guidance to not leave their homes.
Local food suppliers and stores have lent their support by donating a range of items, from dried goods and ready meals to Easter eggs and strawberries. Supporters include Sainsbury, Poundland, Berry Farms, the Punch and Judy pub in Tonbridge and Albion Fine Foods.
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council’s senior civil enforcement officer, Sophie Smith, said: “I love my day job but this is really rewarding work and it certainly makes a change to be doing something that brings a smile to people’s faces. Many of these people live alone so they really appreciate the help but also the chance for a quick chat as they often have no one to talk to while they are in isolation.”
Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council has a dedicated support helpline on 01732 876152 to help those in shielded medical isolation and those who are vulnerable to coronavirus. In addition to food supplies, the scheme is providing befriending to those on their own. Further information can be found at www.tmbc.gov.uk/coronavirus.