Student volunteers ‘provide another option for residents’

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A new lockdown delivery service for Clutha has met with cautious approval from officials, following a bumpy start.

The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) made its first contactless grocery delivery in Balclutha yesterday morning, extending a service already operating in Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Clutha Mayor Bryan Cadogan said initially local Civil Defence had raised concerns the new service would “add an extra layer” of potential Covid-19 contact to the area’s most vulnerable.

He said for the most part family members and neighbours had ‘‘circled the wagons’’ for the sick and elderly in Clutha, and Civil Defence had provided deliveries where there was a shortfall.

However, after receiving a call yesterday from SVA chief executive Sam Johnson, Mr Cadogan acknowledged the service could work “alongside” Civil Defence, and might be useful for “certain people”.

“I’m so proud of the resilience Clutha has shown recently, and that’s been supported by an amazing contribution from local volunteer organisations that have served their communities for decades.

“I admire the work of Sam and the SVA and, now we have a better understanding of how this operates, it could provide another option for residents.”

Mr Johnson said the service used only local volunteers wearing protective gear, and allowed over-65s, the vulnerable, and essential workers to order groceries online with a 24 to 48-hour delivery target.

A $10 delivery fee was optional, he said.

Otago Daily Times