Ways to help your local community during a pandemic
Humans have a beautiful way of pulling together in the midst of crisis, and despite all of the suffering that COVID- 19 has put the world through, different responses have been a reminder of humanity’s strength. Here are top ways in which you can help and encourage those around you.
1. Online activities/clubs
Set up an online activity club in an area of your expertise or something that you are passionate about – for example, an online book club, a community page or an online community choir like choirmaster Gareth Malone. He is launching the Great British Home Chorus, with Decca Records, in response to Glastonbury festival being cancelled due to the recent pandemic. He asks people who are at home to send material to him.
Speaking to Sky News, he said: “The idea of loneliness as a subject for me to tackle has been around for quite a while, and it’s suddenly the moment – there are going to be a lot of lonely people, and I think music is a great way to reach out to people.”
Social distancing is the safest measure to take, as COVID- 19 is highly contagious and is currently spreading. However, this does not mean we cannot still interact with each other in a fun and uplifting way – the abundance of technology that many of us have access to helps us in these types of situations.
You can also set up groups on platforms such as Facebook – or host a Netflix watching party (with Chrome browser). Singer John Legend also started a #TogetherAtHome concert series.
2. Donate or help in the ways you can
The national response in helping key workers – those who are on the front line in dealing with COVID- 19 across different sectors – has been significant. Shops like Greggs are offering free coffee to those who are NHS workers and some supermarkets such as Tesco have created time slots for the elderly and vulnerable – Tesco has “priority hour on Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning from 9am-10am (apart from Express stores.)”
By respecting the measures put in place by these institutions, we can ensure that we are doing our part by considering the wellbeing of the wider community. We can also do our best to avoid stock-piling, so that there is food and other essential items available for key workers when they come home from work – and so that the entire community have access to what they need.
Furthermore, even though there are initiatives such as priority hour, some elderly people and those that are vulnerable, such as those with underlying conditions, may be still afraid to pop out to the shops to grab the essential items that they need. There are others in poverty that need help or will need help in the weeks to come, especially as large groups of workers have lost their jobs due to businesses closing down. Martin Lewis has announced that he is donating £1 million in “a fund to provide grants of £5k – £20k to small UK charities who are doing/want to do immediate Coronavirus poverty relief. ”
We can also do our part with what we have – if you are going out for your own shopping for example, you can be a helping hand by offering to pick up items for your neighbour or donate some spare food items to your local food bank =. Like others, you can distribute helping cards through letterboxes, or to be more safe and maintain distancing – outside of doorsteps.
3. Self-isolate if you have ANY symptoms
It is important to follow Government guidelines and self-isolate if you have any symptoms because you may feel fine but many cases can be asymptomatic – and tests are not nationally inclusive at the moment. This is not only essential for your own health, but for the health of those with underlying conditions such as asthma or diabetes, or immunocompromised individuals. The Government has also recommended that these at risk groups self-isolate for a period of up to 12 weeks.
4. Be a friend and don’t lose touch
It may be disheartening to be separated from certain loved ones or friends, but there are ways that you can connect and avoid losing touch. Try to schedule in time to have a conversation over the phone, or through virtual means – this is especially important for those in your life that do not cope well with isolation, and those more at risk. You can also participate in online activities together such as online gaming or challenges.
There are also some learning schemes online such as the Coronavirus Home Learning Support Page on online educational publishing house Twinkl, for children who will be at home from the 20th March.
5. Don’t give up
Every life matters and although we face the unknown, we can overcome if we pool our resources, adhere to guidelines and band together in the face of this crisis.