A TULLIBODY woman is among a group of Forth Valley College students distributing "isolation packages" for vulnerable people in the Forth Valley area.

The ongoing effects of the coronavirus outbreak have left many without basic essentials and with more and more people expected to stay indoors for the next few weeks, additional support may be required.

To combat loneliness and keep families stocked up, Caring Working with Communities students have set up a Community Hub to collect and distribute essentials and to maintain social bonds with those in isolation.

The Wee County's Sam Hudson is one of those involved in the project and hopes the group will be able to reach those most in need.

She said: "We were all talking about what we were doing to help and had the Facebook platform all set up through our course and we decided to look for donations to help people struggling through this coronavirus situation.

"The confidence, knowledge and skills we have learned through the Working with the Communities courses have given us the tools to do something like this and we are all very proud of each other at how we have come together to work as a group on this."

Sam joins Vhairi MacLeod, 34, from Grangemouth, Laura Ann Kennedy, 36, from Tamfourhill, Susan Richardson, 51, from Falkirk, Lizzie Clark, 24, from Camelon, Kirsty Kelly, 26, from Falkirk and Nicola Murray, 22, from Kincardine.

Vhairi added: "The response from the public has been absolutely phenomenal and we can't thank people enough for their donations of food and essential toiletries.

"We have drop off points for people to donate in Stirlingshire, Clackmannanshire and the Falkirk area and information on that can be found on our Facebook page.

"We are looking for more volunteers too and want to hear from anyone who can spare a few hours. At the moment we are making up these two-week isolation packs in our own homes – even my three-year old son has been helping me put food in bags."

The seven strong HNC group set up the Facebook page to collect essential donations of food and toiletries, and have already had more than 20,000 views. They recently delivered their first package to someone in need.

Initially, this started as a Clackmannan service, but has expanded to include collection points across the Forth Valley Region..."

The ladies are looking for more donations and making up their packs in their own homes, but are also liaising with local charities and foodbanks including: Clackmannan Development Trust, Kersiebank Community Project, CORRA Foundation in Langlees, Falkirk and the Scout Hall in Grangemouth.

Items that are most needed include: pasta, noodles, tins of food, lentils, rice, cereal, jars of pasta sauce, nappies, toilet roll, baby milk, baby food, wipes, tooth brushes and toothpaste, shower gel, bars of soap and cleaning products.

The group are also looking for more volunteers to get involved to deliver goods, help collect and pack the donations and to take part in buddying of vulnerable people in self-isolation where they would collect their own shopping or deliver medicines.

To volunteer or find out more call 01259 213640 and leave a message with your contact details or visit the Facebook page – Community Hub Forth Valley Crisis Support.

Stewart Ritchie, business and communities lecturer, said: "In light of the Covid-19 emergency one of my HNC Working with Communities student created a Community Hub information sharing page on Facebook. They were in the process of building a community hub as part of their graded unit to tackle social isolation for disadvantaged or aged people within the community.

"This has been turned this into a kind of emergency service of some sort. Over the weekend they became aware that the foodbanks within the Forth Valley region had been depleted. They then rallied the rest of the class to help who decided to use their Hub to co-ordinate donations and get care packages to those most in need. Initially, this started as a Clackmannan service, but has expanded to include collection points across the Forth Valley Region and have begun the process of collecting donations and then delivering packages to those most vulnerable.

"This is an excellent example of the theoretical aspects of the course being used in a practical sense. I am really proud of them all."