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How volunteer shoppers are a lifeline to Bramley’s elderly

Older people who are self isolating in Bramley are being handed a lifeline by volunteers who go out and do their shopping for them. Community reporter (and volunteer) IOLA SHAW joined them on Monday morning for her second shopping trip...

Bramley Elderly Action (BEA) have had a shopping service for some time – so they have rapidly expanded this to meet the needs of self-isolating older people in their area. 

Building on their existing good relationship with Morrisons at Swinnow they have worked together to support their members by organising groups of volunteers to meet and work through shopping lists during the first hour of opening and then deliver these before the frozen items thaw out.

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Three weeks into the lock down they now offer the service four days a week.  Last week they shopped for 45 people – one of the concerns many people have is “do they qualify” if in doubt the criteria is on the BEA website here.

I joined the team on Monday morning, for my second shopping trip. 

Rebecca Durrrant, a BEA team member, ensured we had the correct gloves, masks and labelled shopping lists, and knew the dos and don’t of being a shopper – do buy what’s on the list, don’t make poor substitutions, don’t go within 2 metres of other shoppers and volunteers. 

I was reminded that I was a representative of BEA and I suspected that might mean that my dancing to supermarket tunes whilst waiting to check the trolleys through the previous week was a little frivolous.

I asked the other volunteers why they were willing to be in a supermarket carpark at 6.45 on a Monday morning. 

Philip McConnell, who has volunteered for BEA for a year said:

“It’s nice to be nice.”

While Tim Staves has been volunteering as a bus driver for nearly four years, he has really enjoyed expanding his role with the charity. 

And Bramley councillor Jools Heselwood was enjoying her first time as a volunteer shopper. She said she was: “trying to be useful in the community and helping” as much as she can. 

We each went round gathering items, giving each other tips where to find things we were unfamiliar with, then met up to go through the checkout together.

Our checkout friend, Stacy,  rattled through the items at the checkout. She and the store management team are now familiar with the process, and once each list was bagged and labelled we gave a quick call to the recipient so they could have the correct money/cheque ready for us on delivery. 

We were done shopping by 8am – as more people were heading into the supermarket and the others headed off to make the deliveries.

If you want to know more about volunteering for Bramley Elderly Action or if you, or someone you know, may benefit from the shopping service details are available on Facebook or from their website.


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