Coronavirus Crisis: How You Can Help
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Many of us are now following the government’s advice on social distancing and self-isolation. Staying home may be an irksome inconvenience for the able-bodied and healthy, but self-isolation can be debilitating – not to mention lonely – for those who are elderly, ill or unable to earn a living as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
It’s easy to feel impotent and hopeless in the face of the unfolding Coronavirus crisis – luckily, there are numerous ways you can help to support the vulnerable and your community at large. If you know of any ways to help that haven’t been listed in this round-up, do Tweet us at @countryandtown or email [email protected]
What You Can Do to Help
Donate money or time to a worthy cause
It’s more important than ever to support charities like the British Red Cross and AgeUK, whether with donations or volunteer work. If you are healthy and can safely get to a donation point, giving blood is still essential to the NHS.
If you want to go further than staying home – one of the best ways to support the NHS during this time of crisis – the government is calling for 250,000 volunteers to help up to 1.5 million people asked to shield themselves from coronavirus due to underlying health conditions. NHS Volunteers will ease some of the strain on the health service by assisting with small but essential tasks, like delivering medicines from pharmacies, driving patients to their appointments or simply phoning those self-isolating for a check-up. Members of the public can sign up quickly and easily at goodsamapp.org/NHS.
Many companies, local businesses and restaurants are also pitching in to support NHS staff and those affected by the virus. Below is a (growing) list:
– Beloved Italian restaurant Lina Stores has launched a fundraiser to make pasta and sauces to be given free to at-risk groups and hospitality staff who have been made redundant. Those donating over £20 will get 20% off in Line Stores restaurants following their re-opening.
– Black Sheep Coffee, Pret and Grind are giving NHS workers free coffees
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Today we have decided to close our restaurants. Our delis in King’s Cross and Soho remain open and fully operational to support the needs of our local communities.⠀ ⠀ With the help of our friends at Deliveroo, we will start delivering our most popular restaurant dishes, including fresh pasta and sauces around London.⠀ ⠀ We are also looking to launch a direct grocery service which will provide some of our most popular deli products that can be used to create your own Lina Stores feast at home. We will announce more details soon.⠀ ⠀ This is a time to support those in need. We have created a donation page to help provide free food for Londoners who desperately need it, including hospitality staff, who have been made redundant, and those in at risk groups. 100% of the funds raised will be spent on supplies and staff to produce the food and we will be providing regular updates with how many people we have fed. *The donation link is in our bio!* ⠀ ⠀ We want to look after London – the same community which has supported us for over 75 years. Please donate what you can, there are many people who are without jobs and at risk as a result of this global crisis.⠀ ⠀ We will, of course, keep you updated as things progress. For now, stay safe and together we’ll all get through this.⠀ ⠀ Grazie a tutti,⠀ The Lina Stores family.
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Check on friends, family and neighbours – particularly the elderly
One of the few good things to come out of the coronavirus crisis is the widespread resurgence of community spirit and small acts of kindness. If you know any elderly or vulnerable people living on your street or in your building, now is the time to reach out, whether to offer help with errands or just a chat. The #ViralKindness postcard – created by Becky Wass to help those self-isolating – is easy to print and post through letterboxes.
Covid-19 Mutual Aid Groups, which co-ordinate local aid for self-isolating residents, also make helping around your neighbourhood easier than ever. There are now over 900 such groups around the UK – you can find and contact your local group (or set up a new one, if your neighbourhood is missing from the list) here.
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Yes, this is a nice idea (via an uplifting story in today’s @guardian) when we’re all feeling a bit overwhelmed by the news. You can download this postcard created by Becky Wass from the link in my profile. My sister @hancockems did something similar for her neighbours yesterday. We’re going to do this today on our street. I’m rather ashamed to say we don’t know many of our neighbours but this seems a good reason to put that right. Social distancing and self-isolation should not mean disbanding community. We need it now more than ever. Spread kindness (just not coronavirus). #viralkindness
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Don’t forget the food banks
With widespread stockpiling, supermarkets aren’t the only places facing shortages. Supplies are also dwindling in food banks, which provide essential products for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities. As more people than ever rely on food banks – particularly now that the coronavirus has forced many business-owners to make drastic staff cuts – the need for donations becomes greater. You can find your local food bank and arrange a donation via the Trussell Trust.
FareShare is a network aiming to end food poverty by providing charities and homeless shelters across the UK with high-quality surplus from the food industry. Donations are easy to make through its website – as little as £10 will help deliver enough food for 40 meals.
Founded by Jo Jones and beauty columnist Sali Hughes, Beauty Banks supplies essential toiletries and hygiene supplies to those unable to afford them and relying on food banks. With supplies running low, the charity has launched a GoFundMe page to provide hand sanitiser, soap, body wash and laundry detergent to those who cannot afford to keep themselves and their families clean.
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We are overhwlemed at the outpouring of support for our #helpinghands campaign which launched on Sunday afternoon. This campaign exists to support those who can’t afford to take the extra precautions needed to keep themselves and their families safe from the coronavirus (COVID-19) infection. PLEASE do share news of this appeal to highlight #helpinghands as the more funds we generate, the more people we can help, and continue to help until we’re out the other side. THANK YOU so very much Jo & Sali #helpinghands #hygienepoverty #beautybanks #peoplepower
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Support small and local businesses
Many restaurants and pubs are now offering a takeaway service in lieu of operating as normal – check out C&TH’s round-up of some of our favourite eateries now bringing fine dining to your door. The Instagram account remedy_london will be keeping Londoners abreast of how they can help and support the local, independent restaurants which are such a huge part of the capital’s vibrant dining scene; follow for daily updates.
Buy only what you need
Inconsiderate shopping habits have prompted supermarkets and stores to impose a limit on the number of items purchased. Even if your local shop hasn’t introduced this rule, please be considerate when buying products and avoid stockpiling. The more some people buy, the more likely is is that others will go without and, and as supermarket heads have stated, there is enough for everyone if we work together. It may feel like the apocalypse, but the world will not end if you don’t have a year’s supply of toilet paper.
Help your own mental health by switching off from the news
Tempting though it is to spend your newly-solitary days glued to the news, it’s hard to help others when you are a dithering, anxious mess yourself. Nothing bad is likely to happen if you spend an hour away from your phone or computer, practicing some self-care. Why not do an at-home workout or get some air in one of London’s beautiful parks, or catch up with a friend over a FaceTime dinner? Nature and time with loved ones isn’t cancelled – and neither is hope.
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