AF Blakemore Partners with Royal Voluntary Service to supply ‘help from hospital’ bags

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AF Blakemore has partnered with the Royal Voluntary Service on a number of initiatives to help vulnerable people and NHS workers during the coronavirus crisis.

The company has secured a contract with the Royal Voluntary Service to supply products for 5,000 ‘help from hospital’ bags.

The bags will play a vital role in providing essentials to patients leaving hospital as well as keeping NHS staff fed at home.

Products supplied include tea, coffee, milk, tuna, baked beans, soups, a wafer snack and soft drinks as well as a toothbrush, toothpaste and soap. These are being delivered to four Royal Voluntary Service distribution centres across the UK for the charity to distribute to people in need via their volunteer network.

AF Blakemore is also collaborating with customers, suppliers and Royal Voluntary Service to provide essential foods and refreshments to frontline workers in the NHS.

The business is helping to deliver food and drink donated by partners such as Milk & More, Pepsi Co., Lucozade, Fulfil and Walkers Snacks to NHS workers across the UK.

Meanwhile, last week Spar became the first convenience food retailer to partner with Royal Voluntary Service to support the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme.

The NHS Volunteer Responders programme has been set up to support the NHS and the care sector during the Covid-19 outbreak. More than 750,000 people have signed up to support vulnerable people via the GoodSAM Responder app.

AF Blakemore has joined forces with fellow SPAR wholesalers Appleby Westward and James Hall & Co. to enable Community Response volunteers to shop for the vulnerable person they are supporting at over 700 SPAR stores in England.

Using their ID, volunteers on the programme are able to take the shopping list from a vulnerable person to a participating SPAR store, and know they can shop and pay.

Sam Ward, director of services and deputy CEO of Royal Voluntary Service, said: “We are incredibly grateful to SPAR stores for adjusting their systems to enable our volunteers to shop for vulnerable people in their community. 

“Many people will rely on shopping support from our NHS Volunteer Responders, and this payment solution will work well for our volunteers.”

AF Blakemore group marketing director Sarah Ellis commented: “We are delighted to partner with Royal Voluntary Service, one of our key business partners, at this crucial time.

“During the coronavirus crisis many of our SPAR stores have been prioritising home deliveries for those identified by the government as vulnerable, and the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme and ‘help from hospital’ bags are great ways that we can make even more of a difference.

“AF Blakemore is a family business committed to supporting good causes in local communities, and we are very proud to support these Royal Voluntary Service initiatives.”

AF Blakemore has been distributing food and drink to Royal Voluntary Service since April 2017 and supplies 180 of the charity’s hospital sites across Britain.

Royal Voluntary Service is a national charity built on local volunteering. It gives support to people who need it in NHS hospitals and communities.