Coronavirus: More than 800 sign up to deliver groceries to elderly and those at risk

Volunteer group has divided Cork city into five electoral wards

More than 800 people have signed up with a new voluntary group in Cork to help deliver groceries and other essentials to elderly and at-risk people unable to leave their homes over fears of contracting coronavirus.

Cork Covid-19 Volunteers for the Elderly is the brainchild of musician Benny Bickerdike (28) from Glanmire who came up with the idea last week while talking to his mother about the impact the pandemic could have.

"That got me thinking and I put a posting on Facebook, asking people for ideas how we might help elderly people and those at risk and save them having to go shopping because I was seeing all these posts about them being scared."

Mr Bickerdike posted the idea on Facebook on Thursday night and since then, the Cork Covid-19 Volunteers for Elderly page has been inundated with people volunteering to help.


Mr Bickerdike divided Cork city up in to its five electoral wards, and matches up volunteers with elderly in their local electoral area.

"If somebody fills out the form on Facebook and say they need help - say somebody is from Blackrock, once we get that information we put them in South East area group and see if anybody is available at the time," he said.

“If somebody accepts the job, then we sent them on the details and they make contact with the elderly person - the next step now is to let people know that this voluntary service is now available for them here in Cork.”

Mr Bickerdike said the group is also putting up harm reduction posts so people can be mindful about not spreading the virus themselves as it’s possible that some volunteers may turn out to be carriers of the virus.

“It’s possible that some of us may be carriers so we are urging people to take all the appropriate precautions - wear gloves and use a facemask to prevent breathing on the goods and disinfect everything before handing them over.

“We are urging people to leave the groceries in the porch and then you can come and collect the cash afterwards when the person has received the goods so there should be no contact between the volunteer and the older person.”

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times