When lockdown changed all our lives, lots of people were determined to do something positive in their community to help the most vulnerable, lonely and anyone ‘self-isolating’ or ‘shielding’.
In my home town of Hertford, husband and wife Deri and Jo Hughes created a volunteer-run home delivery service of essential food and groceries from scratch within days. People donated time and skills to get an ecommerce website up and running, design and print leaflets, staff and operate a telephone order line, arrange a supplier contract with a wholesaler and coordinate a pick, pack and deliver operation serving those in Hertford and Ware who needed it most. Shop + Drop was here to help, all coordinated through WhatsApp groups. Amazing.
Initially I volunteered to be on the phone team. Suddenly ordered to ‘stay at home’ I wanted to help and needed distraction, with less work on than usual. With plenty of volunteers available however, I switched to marketing, offering to run social media accounts to spread the word around the local area.
I focused on optimising a Facebook page and creating organic content, educating people about the service, sharing the story behind it, getting the ops team to remember to take photos when out on delivery, to show volunteers in action and happy customers. Another local marketing pro volunteered and donated some Facebook spend to help reach more local people and the page grew to over 230 ‘likes’ and 270 ‘follows’ and nearly 200 followers on Instagram. It was a pleasure to be hands on with social media again, and I learned a lot about Instagram very quickly, having missed the boat the first time around.
The service took orders throughout April and May and it was fabulous to volunteer with such a creative local effort and so many lovely people. Deri and Jo took the service into hibernation as lockdown easing measures meant demand dwindled. But you can be sure should the situation change it’ll be up and running again in no time.