The COVID19 pandemic has brought with it an unprecedented set of challenges which people are tackling together right across the world.
But with the challenge has come an outpouring of public support and care for each other. Communities are pulling together, often in new and innovative ways.
Stories have emerged all over the world of neighbours helping each other, fundraisers for those who have lost their jobs, volunteers offering to support health services or the wider community, and calls to support local independent businesses.
So what can we do to help? It doesn’t need to be complex or time-consuming.
Here are some simple ideas for supporting neighbours and your wider community.
The fewer people out and about right now the better, especially for those who are at greater risk from the virus. Running an errand for a neighbour or someone in your community while you’re out is a great way to offer support to those who need it.
Since you don’t want to knock on their door, start by leaving a note with your number. A direct message rather than a general offer of help might make them more likely to take you up on your offer, such as “I’m going to the supermarket tonight, can I pick up some shopping for you and drop it off?”.
You could offer to collect and deliver shopping (leaving deliveries on the doorstep or safe place to avoid close physical contact), pick up a prescription, put out their bins, or help to care for pets.
If you want to go a step further than just helping a direct neighbour you could start (or join) a neighbourhood group. Creating a community using social media can help those who are self-isolating, and seeing a friendly face, or receiving regular messages, will help to reduce feelings of loneliness.
You could also offer to help people who would benefit from your tech skills. Why not help a neighbour get set up with a Zoom or FaceTime to connect with loved ones. Share what you’ve been doing and encourage your friends to do the same.
As well as being a great way of sharing information and resources, these groups also make it easier for those who need help to ask for it.
Lots of areas are actively creating and managing mutual aid networks, designed to connect and help those in need right now.
Volunteering around the country is often coordinated by local councils, many of whom have been inundated with offers of support. Liverpool’s Good Neighbour scheme has taken so many volunteering offers, they currently have no space left, but there are still ways to help others with day-to-day tasks, or to support local charities and initiatives.
Liverpool Mutual Aid Group has been set up on Facebook for people in Liverpool and the surrounding area to organise community help during the pandemic. Click here to join.
The University is also currently looking at ways in which students can volunteer to support those in need so please keep checking Student News for updates.
The most important thing you can do to help your community is to follow government guidelines on reducing the spread of COVID19. As tempting as a sunbathing session in the park might seem, adhering to the guidelines could save your life, or that of your neighbours, family and friends.
DO: Keep safe, respect others, listen, act responsibly, follow government guidelines.
DON’T: Have physical contact with others, go into other people’s homes, share people’s names and addresses, ask for or receive people’s bank cards or PIN.
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