/ Health

Celebrating the unsung coronavirus heroes

We’re all having to come to terms with our entire lives changing – who’s gone the extra mile to help you through it?

While it’s too easy to get wrapped up in stories of people fighting for loo roll, I’ve been most taken aback by the extraordinary kindness people are showing.

News: supermarkets restrict items in a bid to prevent stockpiling

I was worried about my elderly neighbours so, from a good few metres away, I asked if they needed me to get anything for them.

Nope. All sorted. A woman who works at our nearby petrol station is doing daily deliveries for them.

Community spirit

In my local area, three community clubs that support elderly people have had to close.

This should be devastating to the 90 people who use it, except three staff plus 25 volunteers are ringing regularly to chat, organise shopping, pick up prescriptions and run errands.

We also have very active local Facebook groups. People are banding together to offer support and services.

Anyone who needs help can get in contact and they’ll have someone there for them. They’re also encouraging people to look out for their neighbours, and are basically changing our entire culture of keeping our heads down and getting caught up in a too busy life.

See all the latest news and advice on COVID-19

It’s really helped lift my spirits to see people pull together at such as difficult time. So I thought it would be really good to create a space here where we can share our stories.

What acts of kindness have you seen? How has life in your community changed?

Share your positive stories with us in the comments, we’d be delighted to read them.

Sally says:
26 March 2020

Yesterday Waitrose in Tonbridge delivered a bouquet of flowers for every member of our staff at Tonbridge Cottage Hospital. It put a smile on everyone face. How wonderfull is that! They also gave us biscuits and chocolates. A BIG Thank you to Waitrose!!!

Elaine Kiff says:
27 March 2020

Has anyone spared a thought for refuse collectors? Surely they are “key workers” and are putting themselves at risk to save us but I don’t hear anyone in the government or otherwise saying thank you.

I agree with you, Elaine, but there are hundreds of essential occupations that must continue but could not all be listed. It’s 90% of retail businesses that are not needed although some firms think they know better.

The problem for refuse collectors is that they have to be in close confinement in the vehicle cabs. They have five in the cab where we live. There are contingency plans to scale back the refuse collections, cutting out the garden waste bins first, then the recycling, and then the non-putrescible general rubbish just leaving the food waste to be collected weekly – and that only involves a solo operative with a wheelie bin.

Let’s do a virtual clap too for local family companies like Laidler’s in the North East, Whitley Bay, est.1913. Their company ethos has always been – First for Quality, Service and Pride and they’re certainly living up to that now. 
They have rapidly employed more staff to work at home dealing with the influx of registrations for home delivery of fresh produce, bread and milk and are even adding more products to their range at this time and delivering within 24/48 hrs of orders being placed. Some achievement!

Apart from helping those of us ‘shielded’ and locked down and many people in parts of rural Northumberland with no local shops, this service significantly reduces the number of people and informal carers as well as registered, paid carers,  who are potentially putting their own health at risk by visiting supermarkets to shop for us. Laidlers’ delivery personnel can maintain social distancing.

Much appreciation to all at Laidler’s – and similar relatively small businesses around the country- who have adjusted their systems instantly and selflessly and are going the extra mile (in Laidlers’ case covering a radius of 30+ miles). 

Teamwork at it’s best. 
Pauline S. 

C. Shemilt says:
30 March 2020

As an 82 year old self isolating customer who has used Tesco on line for the last 9 years and spent on average £100 each time I feel very angry and upset that no help has been give to people like me who are unable to go to the stores through disability, my last Tesco order last week contained I milk, I am relying on friends and Family to help me and I honestly don’t think I will ever bother ordering from Tesco again, I honestly don’t know what I am going to do.

Helen says:
30 March 2020

Hi c shemilt you can contact gov.uk for assistance fill in the form online you will be priority bless you stay safe there are organizations like scope / Samaritans redcross

I have to say local businesses in Belfast are really stepping up to the challenge. I am getting deliveries from 3 different places in the next couple of days that will take us through about two weeks without having to shop. I am so glad I can continue to support these businesses as well through all of this.