Blackpool dad's call for help with Fylde coast shopping group for isolated residents
A Facebook group set up by a Blackpool dad to shop for people across the Fylde coast in isolation has amassed over 3,000 members since its launch on March 17, and now he has asked for help from the public to encourage its growth.
Dad of two Sean Ryan, 44, set up the Facebook group "Shop it locals" from his Lawson Road home after realising that local shops were beginning to sell out of essential items, as more people stocked up amid the coronavirus outbreak.
After visiting his nearest shop to offer help with deliveries, other people began to offer their assistance with delivering items for vulnerable or elderly people in self-isolation.
Mr Ryan decided to take matters into his own hands, and set up "Shop it locals" with the help of daughter Emily, 21, on Facebook to provide a platform for people to order the essential items they need and have them delivered safely.
The ordering system went live yesterday evening, (March 26) and the group has already received 136 orders from the public.
Now he wants to appeal to the Fylde coast for help with manning the phone lines, and ask more drivers to participate.
Sean said: "It's been absolutely hectic, there's only four of us answering the phones at the moment and the orders are coming in constantly.
"We are working with local shops and food businesses all the way from Lytham to Fleetwood, to give people who can't get out the chance to get the essentials they need.
"We have 25 taxi drivers helping us at the moment, and I want to keep this going for as long as people need it.
"These isolation guidelines aren't going anywhere for a while, so i wanted to do something to help as many people as I could."
Sean, who works at Central House Publishing on Church Street, Blackpool and also has a jet-washing business, found himself at home when non-essential businesses were instructed to close by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week.
He hoped that others in similar situations would offer their help with the group, either by answering phone calls or offering to drive.
Mr Ryan also hoped to recruit "many more" businesses and local store franchises, of which he currently has 12.
"We have 12 shops on board at the moment but that's increasing by the hour as people become aware of what we're doing.
"We especially need help catering for people in Staining, and other rural Fylde areas, so I'd like any shops who are able to offer their help for these places to contact me.
"We've done 14 deliveries in one morning already, so we would like to hear from anyone else who can help with taking calls or driving."
Elderly people over 70 receive their deliveries for free, but contributions are welcomed. For everyone else, there is a £5 delivery charge, of which £1 is donated to the NHS for any necessary supplies.
To use the service, or offer your assistance, visit the Facebook group here.