AFC Wimbledon fans supporting team and community with Dons Local Action Group

By Kassandra Jimenez-Sanchez
April 7 2020, 14.15

AFC Wimbledon fans came together to support vulnerable people in Merton during the lockdown creating the Dons Local Action Group.

Ivy Salvage, 94, was one of the first people to receive a food parcel from the group after a neighbour’s daughter, a Dons fan, contacted them.

The Wimbledon widow is part of the higher risk group who could get seriously ill from coronavirus, therefore is self-isolating at home, making grocery shopping complicated.

Mrs Salvage said: “It is a wonderful thing what they are doing. It was un-asked for and it is good that they are doing this without asking for anything back.”

With two daughters, Ann Hopkins, 69, and Kate Clark, 66, Mrs Salvage became a widow when she was only 29 years old and now lives on her own in Wimbledon.

Ivy Salvage happily welcomed food parcel from Dons Local Action Group

During the war she worked as a draughtswoman and later became a bookkeeper, working after retirement.

She is described by her daughters as an active and independent woman who never stops. She usually hosts a Spanish group, a recorder group and regularly meets with friends to play Scrabble.

All these activities, including grocery shopping, had to come to a halt as result of the stay-at-home-measures taken by the nation due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

According to Mrs Clark, it was difficult to persuade her mother to stop going to the shops and was really grateful for her getting help.

Mrs Clark, from Croydon, said: “A couple of weeks a had to self isolate, so I couldn’t get to her, so the food parcel was like an answer to our prayers.”

Dons Local Action Group was created by AFC Wimbledon fans and the Old Ruts Sports Club, working with Merton Mutual Aid and supported by the AFC Wimbledon Foundation.

It kicked into action on March 21 aiming to provide support to the people of Merton during the coronavirus pandemic. 

They have food collection points outside Morrisons in Wimbledon town centre and at Old Ruths in Poplar Road in Merton.

On its first weekend, the group was able to deliver one hundred food parcels.

Dons Local Action Group spokesman Xavier Wiggins said: “People’s reaction has been incredible, just incredible. The volunteers have been amazing, we’ve got about 150 so far. 

“The more volunteers we have the more food we have and the more we can do to help the people that need it.

“We’ve also had restaurants, bars and pubs giving us things for the food bank. So it has been an incredible effort.”

They not only collect and deliver food, they also assist people by running errands, dog walking and emotional support.

Mr Wiggins said: “We might not have all the answers, but if they need to talk they can call us. We hopefully give them that little bit of contact that they need and as long as we have people to help we hope to help as much as possible.”

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