An Inverness couple helping thousands of people in the Highlands to access supplies during the current crisis have been named Points of Light by the Prime Minister.
Dominic and Shelley Gill started Acts of Kindness Inverness and Highlands in March and overnight became co-ordinators of a massive operation supporting more than 7,000 people with care packages and hot meals.
Points of Light recognises an outstanding volunteer every day with a personal letter from the Prime Minister.
The amazed couple thought the initial contact from Downing Street was a scam.
Shelley, a support worker, said: “We have no idea how it all happened, if we were nominated, who might have nominated us.
“We’re blown away.”
The idea started in March when the couple and their three children found themselves heading home after they’d decided to cancel a trip to Disneyland Paris from Edinburgh Airport in light of developments.
They heard about the panic-buying going on at the time and decided to visit a cash and carry to stock up on supplies, planning to help others who might find themselves stuck.
They established their ‘Acts of Kindness’ page, expecting to reach around 200 people.
Three hours later, 2,000 had found the page, which grew by around 1,000 a day to stand at 7.6k.
The couple, who both hold down full-time jobs, are now also helping people struggling with unemployment and furlough, and extending their service to include signposting to other sources of help.
Shelley said: “I really want to thank the page admins and volunteers who have got behind the operation.”
In his letter to the couple, Boris Johnson said: “Your countless acts of love and kindness punctuate each day with the very best of humanity.”