THE SELFLESS work of volunteers has helped some of the most vulnerable people through the challenges faced during the coronavirus crisis.

The Abingdon Coronavirus Community Response group has played a key role in coordinating the efforts of those who wanted to step up and make a difference for their neighbours during the pandemic.

The good samaritans have answered more than 2,700 requests for help over the past 11 weeks – and as the lockdown eases they assured locals they are 'still here to help'.

More than 400 people signed up for the scheme providing neighbour-to-neighbour help, amounting to the equivalent of some 336 days of volunteering.

Abingdon resident Sarah Anthony, who set up the group in March, said: "My mind is blown.

"I cannot believe what has been achieved together.

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"You rock Abingdon."

The volunteers wearing their distinctive high visibility jackets can often be spotted around Abingdon doing shopping, picking up and delivering pharmacy prescriptions, offering a friendly chat or even dog walking.

Ms Anthony said that worried families have turned to the group from as far afield as Austria.

The group was set up after the concerned local shared the idea of a coordinated response to the pandemic on Facebook.

Ms Anthony said: “We came together as a bunch of people who knew there was a lot of love in this town and that people would look out for each other.

"We wanted to make sure that every single person in Abingdon could get help if they needed it."

The woman explained it soon became clear 'how strong the sense of community is' in Abingdon as she was flooded with offers.

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One local teacher Sophie Power has been volunteering with the Abingdon Community Response since March 23.

She has been helping Chris Peterson and Chris Harrison, a couple in their 60s living nearby, by doing their weekly shopping and picking up their pharmacy prescription.

Ms Power said: "It has been really good being part of the network of volunteers because it feels very well organised.

"It has been really rewarding getting to know them and other neighbours on the street.

"They are really lovely and they are extremely grateful which they do not really need to be."

Ms Power added that over the few months she has developed a relationship with them that 'will probably last beyond the coronavirus'.

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Although the couple are not shielding, they chose to self-isolate as Mr Harrison had a heart attack last year and also suffers from asthma.

Mr Peterson praised the Abingdon response team and added: "We cannot thank Sophie enough for keeping us safe.

"For the past 11 weeks she has unconditionally helped us with weekly shopping and picking up prescriptions and on Sunday mornings, she also gets ours and our elderly next door neighbours papers along with the essential weekend chocolate and top-up shopping as needed."

To get in touch with the Abingdon group email