RINGWOOD residents are showing their community spirit to get through the coronavirus pandemic.

Nearly 2,600 have already signed up to the Ringwood Coronavirus Assistance Facebook group and more than 270 people have volunteered to help with tasks including handling calls to the helpline, collecting and delivering prescriptions, shopping, dog walking, meal deliveries and child care.

Elfie Cheetham was the first volunteer to take a call on the helpline and also the first to don a RCA T-shirt.

Volunteers collecting and delivering prescriptions and shopping will be wearing the T-shirts and have lanyards so they can prove their identity, if required. Volunteers collecting and delivering prescriptions will also hold a DBS certificate.

The aim of the group is to help people who are self-isolating and are therefore unable to get to pharmacies and supermarkets for the essentials.

To volunteer go to ringwood-coronavirus.org.uk. For those in need of help call 01425 542031.

More information is available at facebook.com/groups/ringwoodcoronavirusassistance

A group has also been set up in Verwood to offer support to those self-isolating and is being led by two Verwood town councillor’s with the support of Verwood Town Council. It has been registered as a voluntary support group with Dorset Council.

For medical advice and support (professionally qualified) call 07903 728547 or 07903 728550, shopping collection 07903 728552, 07903 728556, 07903 728557or 07903 728558, prescription collection 07930 219010, and dog walking 07930 219021. Follow the Verwood Coronavirus Community Support Group 2020 on Facebook.

Payment for shopping collections will only be done through Morrisons gift cards only.

The Verwood Coronavirus Community Support Group 2020 has said: "We would encourage everyone to purchase Morrison’s gift vouchers kin store to use in case you are isolated. For the self-isolating and over 70’s please ask a family member, friend or trusted neighbour to purchase gift vouchers on your behalf. Please contact he Facebook group admins if you are unable to do this.

"The volunteers will not be using cash to safeguard the volunteers and users of the group for everyone’s best interests.

"It is tremendous to see the great community spirit within Verwood and a huge thanks to those volunteers that have made themselves available to support their neighbours."

Support groups have also been set up in Fordingbridge and Alderholt in response to the pandemic. Read more here.