Volunteers rally round to support vulnerable people in Lewisham – where you can pay £24.99 for hand cleanser

By Genéa Saunders


Communities across Lewisham have united together to tackle loneliness and inflated prices as
Covid-19 lockdown measures start to bite – in a borough where £24.99 is being charged for hand cleanser.

Residents throughout the borough have appealed this week to neighbours, friends and local
businesses to work together to help support vulnerable people with their shopping.

Ordrs, an online delivery platform, that supports high street shops to deliver groceries from independent stores and supermarkets in Lewisham, have become one of the latest businesses to help support communities in need.

Founder Davidson, below, who launched Ordrs in May 2019, is transforming the site into providing a free service for vulnerable people. He said: “It is a really challenging time right now and it is important for people,
businesses and communities to unite to support our neighbours. Following the lockdown, I am
reaching out to the council for a permit to fulfil local deliveries.”

Currently, Ordrs requires a license, which would allow them to trade as an essential key worker.

Davidson anticipates hectic days as his growth in users is expected to exceed his current operation
of over 70 customers.

A number of support groups and mini committees have been formed as confirmed cases in Lewisham
borough rise to 97 as of 25 March 2020, according to Public Health England.

Sydenham’s Mutual Aid, made up of a network of over 200 local volunteers across Bellingham and
surrounding areas are offering support over the coming weeks. The group provide help with errands,
advice, food prep, shopping and offer a chat to those who are lonely.

Mrs Pinnock, who spotted the group’s poster in Endora House, Food and Wine on Sydenham High
Street said the notice restored her faith in community spirit.

Another group is Catford’s WhatsApp group launched by Tom and Tash a week ago. The duo appealed to residents by leafleting over 60 doors insisting others reach out. “We want people to keep an eye out for anyone who might need practical help with things like getting shopping,” they said. “We also want to check on vulnerable people who live alone.”

The pair have been astonished by the numbers of volunteers willing to help – and believe smaller projects ensure vulnerable people are not exploited. “Everyone really gets to know each other,” said Tom, below. “London isn’t unfriendly – people are just busy. But this has given people a reason to be connected.”

Deptford resident Shinelle Clement appointed herself as a member of the “price police”, highlighting to neighbours if local shops and market stalls were hiking up prices. She said: “We must continue to support each other, by any means possible, especially during the uncertain times ahead.”

Competition Markets Authority chief executive Andrea Coscelli said: “We urge retailers to behave responsibly throughout the coronavirus outbreak and not to make misleading claims or charge vastly inflated prices.”

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