A Coventry primary school teacher has been recognised by Wasps for reaching out to families across the city in their hour of need.
Over the past three months, Stephen Davies has recruited 40 volunteers in conjunction with St Finbarrs GAA Club to bring to life his vision of delivering care packages - made up of food, drink and sanitary products - to the elderly and vulnerable across Coventry during lockdown.
The team of volunteers were delivering around 30 care packages a week initially, but thanks to word of mouth they are now delivering around 150 a week to more than 80 families, thanks to ongoing food donations from local supermarkets, and funding from the Heart of England Community Foundation and the Coventry Irish Society.
Stephen and his team of volunteers use St Finbarrs Sports & Social Club on Holbrooks Lane to make the care packages - and after seeing the scale of the operation first hand, St Finbarrs’ club chairman Danny Coleman decided to nominate Stephen into the Wasps Community Hero Awards, in association with Wasps Partner, Hannafin Contractors.
The awards aim to recognise and reward people that have made a significant difference in their local community.
Stephen, who teaches at Willenhall Community Primary School, said: “The idea came about when the NHS clap for carers started - I saw all of these people clapping which I though was great, but then thought to myself ‘how can I take this a step further and make a difference to other people out there?’
“That’s when this care package delivery service was born. I put the idea out there to a few of my teaching colleagues and friends at St Finbarrs, and before I knew it, I had an army of volunteers ready to help me.
“It isn’t just about delivering the essentials to people’s doors, it’s also about making sure they are ok in themselves. Alongside the delivery, each of our volunteers try to carry out a socially-distanced wellbeing check for those who are shielding, and we also give them quizzes and games so they can exercise their mind.
“We are hoping to keep this service going until the end of the summer, and then after that we are looking at setting up a longer term service where we can transport some of the elderly to the social club every week so they can socialise.
“It was a nice surprise to hear that Danny had nominated me, but I wouldn’t have been able to have made this a reality without the amazing team of volunteers that I co-ordinate - it’s been a brilliant team effort.”
To recognise Stephen for his leadership, Hannafin Contractors will provide him with hospitality at an upcoming Wasps home match at Ricoh Arena, a signed shirt and personal video message from a first-team Wasps player.
Adam Benson, Chief Commercial Officer at Wasps, added: “Hearing about how Stephen’s idea has grown from just an idea into such an impactful reality for so many people in need makes him a true community hero, and we can’t wait to meet him at the Ricoh Arena in the near future.”