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Update: Squad of nearly 500 has delivered 5,000 one-week food packs

Fans-led project spreads across London boroughs

1 May 2020

The fantastic work carried out by the Dons Local Action Group continues to gather pace and Xavier Wiggins said that the community project will be here to stay long after the Coronavirus crisis has eased.

After initially starting off with the intention of providing a weekend community resource for the vulnerable from a base outside the Alexandra Pub in Wimbledon, the DLA’s volunteers work tirelessly every day, whatever the conditions, and across the boroughs of Merton, Wandsworth, Kingston, and Putney. The picture above of a volunteer certainly shows that our committed team will not be stopped by the adverse weather!

The DLA will now also be providing a food drop-off point at Richmond Rugby Club every Saturday to support those in need during the lockdown.

Leading the local battle against the coronavirus crisis by delivering food boxes to people who are struggling, the following figures show the difference that the group is making:

  • Food provided for over 5,000 NHS workers
  • 5,000 one-week food packs delivered
  • Nearly 500 volunteers
  • 100 laptops/tablets delivered to provide online learning for children

The Dons Local Action Group has recently combined with the AFC Wimbledon Foundation to provide computers for children who don’t have any basic means of communication. Visit www.keepkidsconnected.co.uk/ if you can donate an unwanted computer.

Dons Local Action Group Spokesman Xavier Wiggins summed up the community spirit that has been encapsulated by Wimbledon supporters this year with many of those having also volunteered for the highly successful Plough Lane Bond too.

“The work we did for the Plough Lane Bond gave us a mobilised volunteer force,” said Xavier. “We were able to switch a large number of those volunteers straight into this. As a fan base, we are just used to thinking ‘if we want something, we have to go out and do it ourselves’. What we are doing now is different to what has gone before, but it still shows the power of a fanbase.

“We’ve always talked about it being a fans club, but if anyone was in any doubt about us being different, then they need to look at 2020. We've got volunteers who literally haven’t stopped! They’ve been walking up and down roads since mid-January, starting with the Plough Lane Bond initiative, and a lot of these people are working non-stop at the start of May. Craig Wellstead at Old Ruts is a great example. He did a couple of hundred roads himself, posting leaflets for the Plough Lane Bond in the rain, and now he’s working all hours at the hub. He doesn’t even live anywhere near the area, but he stays up here for a few days and then goes back home.

“There are so many skills sets across the board as well. It’s like growing a business from scratch in a matter of weeks. We’ve got teams of volunteers at the hubs, teams at the collection points, marketing teams, plus drivers and people who are responsible for contacting vulnerable people. We also have people contacting companies to ask them for laptops to deliver to children that need them. There are all sorts of roles that people are fulfilling.

“It’s been a real coming together in the community. At the start, we were mainly at Old Ruts and AFC Wimbledon, which was great, but now there are so many other organisations involved, including Richmond RFC and Rosslyn Park, Old Wimbledonians, and Rackets Cubed in Roehampton.

“We must not just disappear off the scene. We’ve got roles to play in the community and the Dons Local Action Group is very much here to stay.”

Keep an eye on the official website next week as we continue our series of interviews with volunteers who are making such a big difference in the community.

You can get involved by contacting the Dons Local Action Group on 020 3301 4511 (9am-6pm), or you can e-mail dla@afcwimbledonfoundation.org.uk .

 


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