How can communities help?

These are unprecedented times, but it’s at times like these that we can see communities pulling together in support of friends and neighbours; particularly older people who have been told to self-isolate.

We are already seeing some amazing initiatives springing up across the globe – who hasn’t been entranced by the Italians singing from their windows during their enforced lockdown? Or the Spanish personal trainer who led exercise classes from the roof of his building. In the UK, social media users are using the hashtag #HowCanIHelp to offer their services.

Closer to home Becky Wass in Cornwall came up with the simple but clever idea of a postcard that can be used to introduce yourself to a neighbour, allowing you to offer to pick up shopping, make a phone call, post mail or collect urgent supplies. 

We’ve come up with a few suggestions of our own:

  • Deliver a nutritious meal – we all love having a tasty meal prepared for us. When prepping your family meal, why not make an extra portion and drop it round to your neighbour or someone in need in your community?
  • Run errands – with isolation potentially extending for a few months, older people are going to be in need of supplies. Why not use Becky’s postcard idea to offer to collect them for a neighbour?
  • Random Acts of Kindness – we all love a bunch of spring flowers, a box of chocolates or a food hamper full of goodies. Surprise a person in your area with one of these – it’s sure to brighten their day to know others are thinking of them.
  • Arrange a Rota – if you have a number of older people in your street, why not get together with neighbours to arrange a weekly ‘friends rota’, to ensure they are getting some form of contact each day. You can take turns making phone calls, video calls or picking up essentials or cooking that extra meal for those who are isolating in your area. 

And remember, as Becky Wass says on her postcard, ‘Spread only kindness’ – take extra care to protect yourself and those who are isolating. Wash your hands thoroughly before dropping any goods off, ideally leave it outside on the doorstep and keep at a 2m distance.

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