Cathays volunteers come together in light of COVID-19 pandemic

Making a difference: Founders of the group recently held their first conference call. Source: Alice Holloway

by Tomos Evans

Since Cardiff’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed a little over a week ago, the situation has developed rapidly, and continues to do so.  As of today, Cardiff University is one of several universities across the country to have adopted remote teaching and learning initiatives.  

Elsewhere in Cardiff, members of the community have come together, offering help and support to anyone who has decided to self-isolate, either after displaying symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19, or as a precautionary measure.  

Alice Holloway, a Law student at Cardiff University, is one of the organisers of the COVID-19 Area Group for Roath, Cathays and Gabalfa.  Alice told Gair Rhydd that the response to the group has been “immense”.  

Alice said, “We now have nearly 700 members in our group after only being public for a few days!  We have been inundated with offers of help, ideas and helpful resources, we really couldn’t have imagined such a large-scale positive response.  We are now working on the structure of our group and how we wish to function in order to get out and actively help in the next week”.  

Alice said that the group’s formation was inspired by the desire “to ease anxieties in our community while making a practical difference”.  

Alice added, “We know that a lot of people will be self-isolating or quarantined and therefore unable to get their daily essentials and could also become very isolated and lonely, especially those who are especially vulnerable.  We decided that the best way to combat this would be to set up a Facebook group that can engage members from all around the local area to support and provide for the vulnerable members of our community”.  

A “community in action approach”

Alice continued by saying that the group aims to adopt a “community in action approach”.  

“Our focus is on providing essential resources such as groceries, prescriptions etc. and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need, in an inclusive, safe and secure manner”, she said.  

“We are aiming to combat loneliness and isolation by a positive, wellbeing-focused approach.  We actively encourage partnership and participation from established community groups, charities and organisations that can help us provide safe, effective and hygienic support to our community”.  

But how can people get involved with the project?  There is a Facebook group for anyone who is interested in participating, which can be found here.  

Alice said, “We are aiming to make helping as accessible as possible, even through creating administrative roles that can be carried out from home if you are self-isolating.  Anyone and everyone can help somehow in the coming weeks and we hope to initiate a huge social movement to ensure that everyone in the community is united and supported”.  

For the latest information on COVID-19, visit Public Health Wales’ website or find updates on the Welsh Government’s website

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