COVID Community Champions: The Story So Far

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It has been almost a month since the Students’ Union launched the COVID Community Champions Scheme. Has it been a major success, or is there still more to be done? Label investigates.

The COVID Community Champions Scheme was launched on the 10th of October and was designed to help students that were isolating. You would submit a request through a Microsoft Form and then a volunteer would go and collect the items you required (such as a prescription or a parcel – food was delivered by University staff and is a different scheme).

The Scheme seemed to be an instant success; being launched only 48 hours after conception and within 12 hours of launch had 100 volunteers sign up and 60 support requests placed.

Within six days 200 volunteers had signed up to help and there had been 400 support requests submitted.

The Union President, Matt Youngs, took personal responsibility for the delivery of the scheme, as well as the personal responsibility for delivering a large number of parcels in the LSU van:

By the 25th of October, the scheme started to supply feminine hygiene products after the University advised them it was something that wasn’t being supplied.

On the 29th of October, yet more was added to the list of deliveries made by the scheme – “Self-Care in Self-Isolation” leaflets.

However, Label has discovered that there are a large number of requests that have yet to be fulfilled, and with an ever-increasing number of students self-isolating, there may be a point where the Scheme is unable to cope with the demand.

The number of cases in Charnwood is increasing at a significant rate, and as the number of volunteers for the Scheme remains relatively flat, the number of requests being made are sure to rise exponentially, with the volunteers struggling under the pressure.

Luckily for the scheme, the National Lockdown announced by Boris Johnson on Saturday does not affect ‘volunteering’ so the COVID Community Champions Scheme is likely to continue through the month-long lockdown.

Despite the successes of the Scheme, there have been those who feel that this shift in priorities for the Executive Team and the Section Chairs has had a detrimental effect on the other Student Activities held by the Union.

Mr Youngs addressed this in his original newsletter about the Scheme:

“Following the formation of this project and the respective Gold and Silver Groups, officer’s priorities have rightly shifted to support the student community in new ways at a time of national importance.

“That said, they will continue to give time towards their sections and support staff who have been pulled in to offset the increased workload. I anticipate this level of re-prioritisation to continue for at least the next 6 weeks but decrease over time as Covid Community Champions becomes more autonomous.”

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LSU Media Vice Chair 2020-21 LSU Media Chair 2019-20 Hall Media Coordinator 2018-19

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