How you can help others during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis
- By Nick
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It is a worrying and difficult time for most of us right now. If you’re at home and not currently working, you might also have a little more free time on your hands than you’re used to. Or you might feel busy, trying to juggle working from home, caring for (and trying to entertain/home school) children and looking after elderly parents from afar. No matter what your circumstances, you might also be wondering if there is anything you can do to help others in this current crisis.
While the most important thing you can do is heed the government guidance on staying at home, there is also a need in the community to help those who are more vulnerable, elderly or living alone. We have put together some ideas and resources for how you can help others during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Let your neighbours know you’re there
Write letters to care homes
This is something that you can get children involved in. Many residents in care homes have been unable to have visitors for a few weeks, and will be missing their friends and families. See if you can find some local care homes in your nearby area who would be happy to receive letters and paintings from the community. It’s best to ask the setting first if they are happy to have post. For example, a recent post about sending pictures to the new NHS Nightingale hospital went viral on Facebook, causing the team there to ask people not to send them pictures (though they do encourage them to be shared digitally). However, we’ve seen local homes and residential settings proactively asking for such material, so do your research and get involved. For example, take a look at this scheme in Milton Keynes.
Volunteer with an organisation
GoodSAM was launched by the NHS to recruit volunteer NHS responders. The idea is to get more help in the community by creating an army of volunteers who could help with patient transportation, delivering medication and providing telephone company to those on their own. Due to an overwhelming response, the scheme has been temporarily paused while the applications are processed, but it should open again at some point.
However, this is not the only way you can volunteer. There are other organisations looking for help or connecting volunteers with charities and community schemes.
Do-It, has a form to fill in with your details and then it will match volunteers with charities and communities that need help, as part of its drive to find coronavirus responders.
If you have certain professional skills, Reach Volunteering enables you to browse opportunities that can utilise those skills effectively, while helping one of a number of charities.
The British Red Cross recruits Community Reserve Volunteers to help communities in crisis when needed at any time, but it’s even more essential now while the coronavirus is spreading across the country.
You can also reach out to local charities in your community directly and see if you can help in any way.
If you do opt to volunteer, make sure that you read the government guidance on How to help safely first.
Support your local foodbank
Demand for food banks is increasing, which means that more than ever local foodbanks need a reliable stream of groceries to be able to meet the needs of the families and individuals they support. This can be as simple as buying an extra tin or two when you’re shopping for your own essential goods, and leaving them at a designated drop point. Many supermarkets have these drop points directly in-store, so it’s easy to put a tin or two in. If you go to the website of your local foodbank, it will list anything specific that they need. As well as non-perishable foods, things like nappies and sanitary products are in need. The Trussell Trust runs foodbanks all over the UK and are a good source of information on ways you can help and donate. If you can’t donate food, you can also donate funds online.
Give to charity
If you can’t help in a physical way, you could donate a small amount of money to one of the many charities that are helping to fight the virus both here in the UK and worldwide. Here is a list of some charities you may want to support, but there are many more.
Age UK has launched an emergency coronavirus appeal
Mind, which helps people with mental health problems
British Red Cross has a UK Crisis Appeal to help support people in crisis
The Silver Line is running an emergency appeal, alongside Age UK, to deliver its helpline to combat loneliness in elderly people
- Published on Apr 07, 2020