Students band together to help the city’s vulnerable
Published on 19 March 2020
Students at the University of Dundee have come together in an effort to help the city’s vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic.
When face-to-face teaching was suspended at the University, Abigail Johnston and Ben Porter decided that they wanted to assist members of the local community while they continued their studies from home. The third-year Medicine students set up a Facebook page, ‘UoD Students – COVID-19 Community Relief Group’, to find like-minded peers that also wanted to help.
Abbie and Ben say the aim is to help a wide range of people - from the city’s elderly, others in the high risk category, and anybody else affected. They aim to act as a link between willing volunteers and organisations, contacting groups within the city and asking what assistance they need.
“We’ve tried to reach out to different kinds of people,” said Abbie, “We’ve contacted a variety of community centres and religious organisations ranging from churches, the Hindu centre, and different mosques in the area.
“We’re trying to act like the middle man& in this to try and speed up the process.”
Ben added, “We put together a massive spreadsheet of all the places that we’ve been directed to and sent them an email.
“That’s gone out to around 40 groups at the moment but the list is growing, and they’re generally happy that there’s all this help coming.”
After only 24 hours of the page being launched, the group had over 800 members. The pair say they have been overwhelmed by the response.
“Everyone has been so supportive of it,” said Abbie. “Friends have reached out and said it’s incredible. A lot of people want to be a part of it so we’re just trying to take advantage of the momentum that exists.”
The duo have compiled a list of volunteers that charities and organisations will soon have access to if and/or when they require assistance.
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