If there’s something positive that’s come out of these uncertain times it’s the immense feeling of community and togetherness. For most of us, we’ve never lived through something so strange, so alien and so uncertain, but we’ve probably never felt such a bond with those around us, whether they be family, friends, neighbours or complete strangers.
If you want to help to do more for your community, even if it’s something as small as picking up the phone to offer reassurance, we’ve outlined all the ways in which you can do so. Here’s how…
Donate To Food Banks
I think we can all agree that stockpiling loo roll three weeks ago was not only stupid but selfish too. Same goes for tinned foods, bags of pasta and practically everything else people lost their minds over at their local Sainsbury’s.
If you went a little OTT on the TP, right the error of your ways by donating some food and supplies to your local food bank. Last year, 1.6 million people in the UK had to use food banks and given the current circumstances more people are going to have to do the same, from students (many universities have already opened banks) to freelancers with no work and families who may be vulnerable.
If you want to help, it’s easy. Head to the Trussell Trust website where you can search your postcode to find your nearest bank, even if it’s just a couple of tins of beans.
In the same vein, people up and down the country are facing a shortage of toiletries and hygiene products that most of us take for granted. We’re not talking illuminating primers and smoky eyeshadow palettes, but personal care essentials that should be a basic human right.
Enter, Beauty Banks, the non-profit founded by beauty journalist and Instagram star Sally Hughes and beauty PR Jo Jones, who together are trying to make hygiene poverty history. They work with beauty brands and individuals to collect unwanted, unused products, from toothbrushes and paste to face moisturiser and shampoo, nappies to nail clippers, for people who can’t afford them.
They accept makeup and more ‘luxury’ items too, so if you can afford to pop an extra hand wash in your basket or have some leftover Christmas presents you’re not going to use, please consider donating to bring dignity, self-confidence and mental wellbeing to so many. It’s amazing how little things we often take for granted can help make someone’s life a little easier.
To sign up, visit the Beauty Banks website for your starter kit and follow the team on Instagram for updates.
The Elderly & The Vulnerable
The government has announced that all of those over the age of 70 need to self-isolate at home for up to four months during this crisis. Understandably this has left so many of our elderly population alone and anxious.
The worst thing about the current situation is that, for many, it’s not a case of the elderly in question having no one to visit (although sadly this is the reality for many) but the fact that they can’t due to social distancing. But there are ways you can help…
Age UK desperately need donations to keep their services going for the elderly. Calls to their advice line have increased by 30% and calls to The Silver Line, the free confidential helpline providing information, friendship and advice to older people, open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, have increased 40%.
These figures are only going to rise but you can help the charity get the support they need by donating as little as £3 now.
If there is an elderly or vulnerable person or someone who needs to self-isolate entirely in your neighbourhood, you can find out how to help them with Nextdoor App.
It’s usually used by communities to stay informed about what’s going on in the neighbourhood, whether that’s finding a good plumber or planning a local event, but it’s never been more helpful than now.
Download it to find out whether there are people who need groceries or essential delivered, which can be left on the doorstep or in a safe place if isolation is a must.
National Care Force
The National Care Force is a nationwide network of care providers, healthcare workers and volunteers ready to support the most vulnerable members of our society through the coronavirus pandemic. And whether you’re a professional healthcare worker, a care provider or simply a volunteer, you can help.
Log on to the website, identify how you can help and the National Care Force will assign tasks, from fetching food for those who can’t to covering rota gaps of healthcare workers.
By donating as little as £3 you can help create a wholesome home-cooked meal that will make the world of difference to someone in need.
Find out more here www.nationalcareforce.co.uk
Donate A Dinner
Pop-up king Jimmy Garcia is working with Age UK to deliver over 1,400 meals to the elderly in Wandsworth. So far, the team have meals that will last for up to 10 days for those in need, but so much more is to be done to continue the service.
Support the cause at www.gofundme.com
Support The NHS
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has called upon 250,000 Brits to put themselves forward as NHS Volunteer Responders who will support the 1.5million people in England who are at most risk from the virus.
This Florence Nightingale-style ‘army’ will help with everything from shopping trips to patient transport, phone volunteers to speak to the vulnerable who are on their own to NHS transporters who will transport equipment, supplies and medication between NHS services and sites.
Our incredible NHS workers are putting their lives on the line for us, if you can, this is one way we can give back.
For more information or to sign up visit www.goodsamapp.org
Help With Research
This week has seen the Covid Symptom Tracker app launch, which will help scientists make steps closer to understanding this virus and how we can stop it. The app can be downloaded by anyone, whether they have had symptoms of Covid-19 or not. Users can take a one-minute self-report daily and this data will be used to find out which areas in the UK are at highest risk, who is most at risk in relation to underlying health conditions, plus track how fast the virus is spreading.
This is a quick and easy way we can all do our bit, for free, from our phones.
For more information and to download visit covid.joinzoe.com
Pick up the phone
It sounds simple but picking up the phone to someone in need could make the world of difference. Whether it’s an elderly family member who is quarantining alone, a friend who lives by themselves or just someone who is struggling with the emotional and mental effects of these unsettling times, a friendly voice on the other end of the line, even if just for five minutes can show them they are not alone.