A COTTAGE industry has sprung up in Llanelli, supplying scrub bags for healthcare workers, counselling for people who need support, offers of lifts for hospital staff and bulk bread deliveries to food banks.
The work in response to the coronavirus pandemic is being coordinated through a Facebook group set up by Cllr Rob Evans.
Healthcare workers can put their scrubs straight into the new cotton bags, which have a ribbon to tie them up, and then straight into the washing machine.
One volunteer who makes the bags passes them over to Cllr Evans on a fishing rod to make absolutely sure the two-metre social distancing rule is observed.
The Coronavirus West Wales Support group has more than 4,600 members.
Cllr Evans, who represents Dafen, described the efforts of Llanelli residents as “absolutely fantastic”.
“The support group is bringing people together,” he said.
“There is no politics. Politics now is life.”
The Reverend Eldon Phillips – known to many as the Scarlets chaplain – is among those involved.
Rev Phillips said he and a female volunteer counsellor were available to talk to.
“Fair play to Rob Evans for starting this group,” he said.
“His daughter Eve and grandson Noah are doing online Welsh learning.
“Sometimes the simplest things are the most effective.
“I’m honoured to be part of it.”
Rev Phillips said many people, though, were not on Facebook.
“They need support as well – but then you hear good stories about neighbours and neighbourliness,” he said.
Local company Airport Flyer Llanelli has posted a message on the Facebook group encouraging staff at the town’s Prince Philip Hospital to get in touch if they need a free lift to work.
Maureen and Geoff Davies, who run the business, said the offer was for doctors, nurses, cleaning staff – anyone who worked there.
They said only one employee had got in touch to date.
“Even helping her was contributing something,” they said.
Cllr Evans said that Scarlets and Wales scrum-half Gareth Davies has also offered his support for the Facebook group.
The Labour ward member said he believed the grim situation faced by the area and much of the world was changing people – and mostly for the better.
“As human beings we have changed,” he said.
“When this is over, I hope we won’t forget what’s happened.”