AN ANDOVER charity has connected hundreds of vulnerable people with ‘buddies’ in the community to help them through the coronavirus crisis.

Andover Neighbourcare usually offers transport, shopping, cleaning and gardening services – plus much more – to aid vulnerable people in the community.

And in response to the coronavirus lockdown an additional service has been added to its offering in the form of a buddy scheme.

Volunteers from all across the community have been paired with vulnerable people who are unable to leave their homes, keeping them company with daily phone calls and staving off loneliness during the lockdown.

General manager of the charity, Pam Delderfield, told the Advertiser: “It’s been absolutely fabulous. The people that are buddying up have just been out of this world. And the clients that are buddied up are over the moon.”

Pam says that many of those stepping up to be ‘buddies’ are people on furlough. Volunteers from companies like Twinings, Stannah Stairlifts, the RAF and the county council are amongst the dozens to have offered their support during this time.

“There’s one woman with no family and this RAF couple just ring her every day,” Pam added.

“Her home helper said it’s been her lifesaver. She lives to talk and she can’t go out, but they call every day.”

Pam estimates that there are around 40 to 50 buddies lending their time, resulting in around 600 of Neighbourcare’s clients being buddied up.

“They email me every week with an update on each of their buddies, and I think a lot of them will stick with their buddies even when they go back to work,” she said.