Delivering a Helping Hand

A local couple have been going above and beyond to get key supplies to those in need within the community.

Stephen Palmer and his girlfriend, Sapphire Poles, have been distributing goods purchased from Bestway Birmingham wholesalers at cost price to vulnerable and elderly people, as well as NHS workers. They deliver food and supplies for free and take no profit from the service. Over the past eight weeks, they have grown from delivering in Hall Green to covering the whole of South Birmingham and Solihull. They have provided assistance to over 4500 elderly, vulnerable and NHS workers and have had an enormous positive impact on the local community.

Stephen decided to start the free service when he noticed that the wholesalers he used for his gift business had supplies of essential items, such as toilet roll and hand sanitizer, that were not available in high street shops. Many people in Hall Green had been struggling to get hold of these items, with elderly and disabled people being particularly affected by the shortages. Stephen explained that he thought, ‘if I’ve got access to it, I’ve got a duty of care to the people that need it.’ He purchased key items in bulk and shared the list of available supplies on Facebook.

The couple deliver supplies to a range of people from the elderly and vulnerable who are self-isolating, to NHS staff and the Fire Service. They have had a huge impact in delivering important items such as Calpol and cleaning products to families who have been struggling to get hold of supplies.

As the project has grown, they have formed partnerships with groups such as Highfield Hall Community Centre and The Real Junk Food Project, as well as supermarkets like Sainsbury’s who have donated their surplus food. The couple use these donations to create food parcels for people who can’t afford food or essential items. They have also made a number of deliveries to staff at Solihull Hospital. Last week they received a donation of 1,000 sandwiches, which they took to the hospital for NHS workers.

Stephen has had an excellent reception from the local community and is very grateful for the support he has received. Arbury Peugeot in Bromsgrove have donated a van to transport the deliveries, and the community insisted that Stephen set-up a donation page to help him with the cost of running the van. Guru Cloud have also donated the hosting of the website that Stephen has built to help people place their orders. Stephen is out from 4pm to midnight every day delivering the supplies, but he says that he couldn’t do it without the backing of the community. He says that ‘everyone plays an equal part, and each like, share, and donation helps massively.’

Initially, there was a lot of bulk buying, empty shelves and a shortage of key supplies, but Stephen praises the way that people have now pulled together to support one another. He thinks that this response has positively changed people’s views on one another and the community. 

If you are elderly or vulnerable, live in the South of Birmingham and would like to place an order with Stephen, please visit: www.essentials-delivery.co.uk.

See reviews of their essential service at: https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/essentials-delivery.co.uk

Fundraiser: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/essentials-delivery-charity

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/520265078631399

Many local groups have sprung up or changed their focus to meet the needs of their communities. Cooperation Birmingham run an order and delivery service of wholesome and freshly cooked food for free. Polish Expats Association have been delivering food parcels directly to those in need and Witton Lodge Community Association have been delivering food to vulnerable residents in Perry Common and Wyrley Birch.

Follow this link to locate your nearest foodbank: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/.  If you are a Birmingham resident who is self-isolating and need support with food and essential items, you can use the relief form here.

Nina Conway
Author: Nina Conway