NFRN member Leslie Gilbert, of Chard News in Chard, Somerset, is going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that local residents have access to necessities – amid supermarket shortages and fears of self-isolation – during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Gilbert has adapted Chard News’ stock, plans and services to help local residents during the coronavirus outbreak.

The store has seen a significant rise in demand for certain items, such as antibacterial hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes, toilet roll and hand wash.

Mr Gilbert said: “The shop has been very busy since the coronavirus outbreak. We are trying to stay as flexible as possible and adapt our approach as we go. We don’t know what will come next, so, we’re trying to prepare for all possible outcomes.

“We have ordered more quantities of some items, such as long-life milk, hand sanitiser and soap, but don’t know if we’ll even receive all of the orders. Wholesalers are also undergoing shortages. It’s inevitable that we will run out of stock at some point.

Mass panic and bulk-buying has resulted in global reports of limited stock since the coronavirus outbreak.

Mr Gilbert continued: “We have got some toilet roll left but a lot of people are bulk buying it at the moment. I’m planning on holding some back behind the counter – to give to the elderly and those in desperate need – it is crazy that it has come to this.

“I am thinking of creating a delivery service within the near future, in case some people are not able to leave their houses. Regardless of the current chaos, we haven’t put any of our prices up. We’re just trying to do the right thing. We all have to be prepared, do our bit, plan and look after one another.”

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