Huge numbers of selfless Hastings residents have stepped up to help isolated people cope with the Coronavirus pandemic, reports Hastings HEART, the organisation coordinating the volunteer response.
Established by volunteers Kim Batty and Alastair Fairley, the Hastings Emergency Action Response Team (HEART) has now seen over 1,000 people volunteer to help those who are self-isolating with food shopping, collecting medicines, transport and even dog walking.
Assistance is available to anyone affected by the current lockdown – not just those who fall into particularly vulnerable groups.
Launched just days before the Government’s lockdown announcement, the Team’s 3,000-strong Facebook Group now has its own website – www.hastingsheart.com – where people can sign up to volunteer, ask for help, or get information on takeaway deliveries, guidance on shops still operating, and other lifeline services.
HEART is now matching dozens of urgent requests for help with volunteers across the town. It is also working closely with Hastings Borough and East Sussex County Councils, the NHS, Hastings Voluntary Action, the Foodbank and a host of other organisations as part of the ‘Community Hub’, streamlining support across the town as Hastings copes with the Coronavirus pandemic.
Alastair Fairley says: “HEART was set up because we knew people would need help. It has touched a nerve – the response from the community has been amazing”.
Call-outs have seen volunteers deliver urgent food supplies, collect vital pharmacy medication, and reach out to dozens of elderly residents on GP lists.
“If people need help, or know someone who does, all they need to do is fill in a simple form on our website at www.hastingsheart.com. If they’re not online, or are elderly or vulnerable, they can also call the Council’s helpline on 01424-451019.
“We’re here to help. We’re doing everything we can to support people safely, and we’re working hard to make a difference.”Kim Batty
You can help HEART and dozens of charities and community organisations supporting people during the crisis by donating to the new Hastings Relief Fund crowdfunder appeal. Visit: