A community project in Highland Perthshire is providing a hot meal and a kind word for dozens of local pensioners every day during the coronavirus pandemic – and volunteers say they’ll continue to help as long as they’re needed.
During the lockdown, people in Aberfeldy have been preparing more than 200 meals a day and delivering them to vulnerable residents in the area as part of a project titled Feldy-Roo.
Dozens of volunteers are involved in the initiative, which is funded by donations from the local community, businesses and charities.
As well as a more than £20,000 raised through a GoFundMe page the project has also been boosted by more than £60,000 of donations from SSE, Highland Action Partnership and the National Lottery Community Fund.
Feldy-Roo is the brainchild of Aberfeldy publican Gavin Price who says he’s astounded at the response.
Gavin, who as well as running a bar also manages Elgin City Football Club, said: “It’s really blown me away the way the community has got together and supported this project.
“You can see from delivering firsthand the difference it’s making to people, not just the food but the social contact you’re getting twice a day with people.
“We’ve got around 40 volunteers just among the driving, delivery side alone, that’s not to mention the chefs and cooks involved in making the food too.
“It really is a worthwhile cause and the whole town should be proud we’ve come together like this.”
Dora Panton, 99, welcomes the twice daily visits from volunteers.
She said: “They’re great people. It helps the likes of me anyway, I don’t know what I would do without that, I’m getting spoiled I really am.
“I’m not so spry as I used to be either so it’s a big help – you know what, I think it’s great, it’s like in the war, you all pulled together.”
Anita Prentice, a volunteer for the project, said: “For somebody like Dora she can’t get out at the minute, family can’t come visit, she’s very isolated in this rural community, and for her somebody comes twice a day.
“Not only does she get her meals provided but she also gets a bit of contact, a bit of a chat at the door and it just brightens her day completely.”
Ida Warren is another local helped by the project.
She said: “I meet the boys every morning, then somebody comes round at night and they always ask how you are, I think it’s very important when you live on your own.”
One of the volunteers Gary Butters says they’re providing a vital service.
He said: “I think there’s a lot of times it’s just us they’re seeing, so it’s a good bit of social interaction between them as well.
“There are 12 routes twice a day, I know on my route when I started we had 18 meals now that is 34 on my route alone.”
Fundraising is continuing to ensure the project can last as long as the lockdown is in place.
Gordon Leighton is one of those tasked with bringing in cash to ensure they can help as many vulnerable people as possible.
He said: “The other evening there were 181 meals.
“It varies every day but we do morning coffees and soups and stuff as well, but the great thing is we are checking on the elderly and vulnerable just making sure they’re OK and seeing them daily is a great thing.”