HUNDREDS of volunteers have come forward with a motto of 'Preparation - not Panic' to save our elderly population from the perils of the deadly coronavirus.

Support groups are mobilising in Largs, Fairlie, Skelmorlie and West Kilbride, while islanders in Millport are also looking out for each other and carrying out deliveries to assist the local community.

With concerns growing over panic buying in supermarkets, and hand sanitiser and soap disappearing off our shelves as well as local food stocks, hundreds of people with a 'heart of gold' are swinging into action to help the most vulnerable in our community.

It is a welcome show of support and faith at a time of great concern as the Coronavirus pandemic continues to send shockwaves around the world, and is now coming ever closer to home, with cases increasing daily in Scotland.

Fi Thorburn and Karen Morgan have joined forces to set up West Kilbride Coronavirus Community Support Group.

Fi, 41, who is a qualified therapist, said: "It's great to see that we are still a loving community that will pull together should anything come of this.

"The more of us that are on this group the less of a commitment it should be for individuals so please help us continue to recruit.

"We are especially interested in connecting with people who are already caring for people who will not only have insight into who may need help, but will know where there is a deficit in care.

"Let's ensure that this all comes not from a place of panic but from being ready.

"People really need support at this point in time - a lot of people are panicking but we are saying 'let's not panic - but be practical.

"It is worrying for people who are self isolating.

"I hope other community groups rally round and do something similar in other communities - with all the news coverage, it had been bothering me all week that we need to do something and when we popped the idea online we had around 30 replies offering help within an hour or two.

"I came up with the ideas and Karen has the practical side to help make it happen. "After getting off to a positive start, let's hope we can get a huge base locally.

"I really think the panic problem is a worse illness than the virus itself - panic is not your friend - we need to think practically about how we can look out for each other."

Karen Morgan said: " So far we have now received 63 offers of help and support from the West Kilbride and Seamill community. This is amazing, thank you. Over the next few days Fi and I will be working together on getting the support list set up, contacting the council, NHS to ensure that we have a joined up approach.

"We will also be in touch with the library/churches/local groups/shops/doctors etc to get their support in reaching out to those vulnerable people that may need our help in the coming months."

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As we go to a press, a new facebook page has been set up called Largs: 'Help at Hand' - a group to offer or request help, support, advice, care and compassion - and is quickly gathering momentum.

Cllr. Alan Hill has also set up a support group in his home village of Fairlie which has already gained strong support via a WhatsApp group (text 07816 394284 to volunteer).

Alan said "In anticipation of Covid-19 leading to the self-isolation of our older friends and neighbours, we have been talking about establishing a local support group to help.

"The council is co-ordinating plans but with the best will in the world this can only work with a lot of local community help.

"Our hope was to pull together a geographical list of the village and allocate every house to a local volunteer.

"We can deliver a card confirming contact details for nominates person and collect email addresses and phone numbers for older residents.

"If we go into lock down of older residents we can do a daily check by phone etc to make sure they are ok.

"We can also organise supplies, arrange for medical visits as necessary."

"Find us at

And Largs councillor Ian Murdoch is also willing to help support groups get kick-started in the community to help and channel council resources. Interested members of the public should phone Ian on 07944 722 027.