BASINGSTOKE’S Covid-19 community support group has gained over 5,000 members in the space of a week.

The group initially started at 400 members and aims to provide up to date, factually correct information and network support, sign posting to charities, professionals and striking up a conversation.

Chief organiser, Louise Warwick, said: “For a Basingstoke support page, 5000 members is huge.

“It’s been crazy, when we set up nine days ago, we had 400 members in 24 hours and 5,500 a week later.

“But there is difficulty in accessing funding to provide the food care packages.”

Louise said they have been fortunate in that many restaurants have given them excess stock following closures, including Nando’s, Pizza Express, Cosy Club, T K Maxx and Costa Coffee.

Vodaphone is providing phone lines and handsets so they can perform wellbeing checks in place for the most vulnerable.

“It’s been frustrating for everyone involved that we are having to ask for donations as opposed to funding being readily available,” Louise added.

If Basingstoke Covid-19 community group sends out anyone to Spotlight, they ensure all their volunteers are DBS checked.

“We deliver food onto doorsteps with no hand to hand touch. We are going above and beyond, to make sure people get what they need,” Louise explained.

The group is supporting Spotlight, a UK charity which provides vulnerable families with both emotional and practical support including benefit and housing advice.

“Spotlight have been phenomenal, putting in places today an extended online activity schedule, education, cooking, wellbeing, mindfulness, fitness for different age groups,” Louise added.