Coronavirus Crisis: How You Can Help
Most 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 established charities like the British Red Cross and AgeUK, whether with donations or volunteer work, as well as emergency initiatives like Meals For The NHS. If you are healthy and can safely get to a donation point, giving blood is still essential to the NHS.
Many companies, local businesses and restaurants are also pitching in to support NHS staff and those affected by COVID-19 – you can find a definitive list of them here.
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
The COVID-19 crisis has put particular pressure on 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 – especially 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, and just a short walk around the neighbourhood. 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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