/ 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.


I believe local online forums are providing much needed help and social contact at the moment. Social media comes in for a lot of criticism – often justifiably – but some local forums around the UK are making a tremendous difference to the lives of those involved.

A conversation I’ve been having a lot lately is “can you imagine all this happening without the internet!?”

Very grateful for it at the moment!

Fantastic, long live online communities! Keep safe everyone at Which? and in the Which? community,

A local one I manage has a strong team of people who provide a round-the-clock news feed of what’s happening. Over ten years it’s had a total of more than 50 million page views.

One thing I have noticed is how when people are out they are smiling at each other more. My next door neighbour of 2 and a half years even welcomed me to the neighbourhood thinking I was moving in rather than out. 😉

I just got a note through the door about local group that has been set up to help people in isolation. How lovely is that?! They have set up a Facebook group as well. https://www.facebook.com/groups/563133244302570/

We are a small sheltered housing group and all over the age of 70 years. We are in a small lock down at present but have been given every assistance. People have been very kind especially our Arts and Crafts teacher, Suzanne, who has not been able to visit us but has sent lots of suggestions and items for us to engage in during our isolation.
Our corner shops have also been wonderful keeping us supplied with essentials. High praise for everyone.
We will fight this together

Jill Wheatley says:
23 March 2020

Lovley idea that your arts and crafts teacher is giving you ideas, Does she put them online? I am 80 and live alone and would welcome some new ideas..

The leader of our art group, Lesley, with the help of husband Malcolm, has set up a chat room on her website, for members of the group, which is based in Leebotwood, Shropshire. She’s available to phone or email at any time for advice but has designated our usual Wednesday afternoon for a virtual art group meeting. She posts projects on the site for us to paint and we can interact in the chat room as we paint. She has also set up a gallery to display our work. Thank you Lesley and Malcolm for your kindness.

StephenM says:
19 March 2020

Can someone explain to me what is this diarrhea epidemic that is sweeping the country? I just do not understand the obsession of clearing supermarket shelves of toilet paper! This afternoon I saw one woman struggling to carry 3 x 18 packs of toilet paper back to her car. It’s disgusting – I hope they all get the runs as they are obviously expecting to…

Now is the time to support our local milk home delivery service, but also continue to do so when we eventually return to “normal”

I’ve been watching quite a few live streams. Artists that I like have been streaming live music as events have been cancelled. It’s a great way to catch up on music whilst also social distancing.

John Lovesey says:
20 March 2020

Spare a thought for those older people who are not tech savvy and do not possess smartphones and/or ipads and the like.

Yes – they are having a great time, permanently tuned to the nostalgia channel, but even that is not what it used to be.

Or they might even resort to card games with real cards or reading actual books…

John Little says:
20 March 2020

Our local village shop has printed a request sheet to help people who cant get out a free delivery service.

Tom Grove says:
20 March 2020

Neighbours with whom I only pass the time of day because I enjoy watching their dogs have fun of a morning knocked on the door to check that I had enough toilet paper – which I did/have/do … ?! Then went next door to ask the same of an (even) older couple. Meanwhile the dogs stayed to have a good sniff around, and then water the grass, of course. Heart warming.

Catherine James says:
20 March 2020

This morning the postman put a message through the door, with his mobile number, offering to do shopping if I needed anything – he’s done the same for all older people on his round. Such kindness

May we please have a one stop advice centre to help member avoid scams while the crisis is bringing out the ‘chancers’ who wish to exploit us? What is your advice to avoid scammers?

You cannot stop scammers trying to contact you by telephone but you don’t have to engage with them. You can protect yourself from receiving unwanted calls by using a call-blocking or interception system but practical common sense is generally sufficient.

Just bear in mind that no reputable business or organisation that has any official business with you will call you to deal with a renewal, variation in terms, conditions or contract details, billing, payments, or technical issues. They will either write to you through the post or e-mail you, and in both cases will include unique personal information including your name and address, the service you are contracted for, and the relevant reference numbers.

During the present emergency there will be chancers trying to con people on the basis of false claims and worrying propositions. We must be extra vigilant, but the same advice pertains. Terminate phone calls that ask you to provide information or undertake some form of transaction [e.g press Button 1]. Automated and recorded messages are almost certainly attempted scams.

Remember also that nothing – absolutely nothing – of a commercial nature is so urgent that it must be dealt with immediately. Be alert to attempts at false jeopardy which try to trick you into doing something to prevent a dire consequence occurring imminently [e.g. shutting down your internet connection]; there is never any truth in that.

That is good advice from John.

The bottom line is – scammers want your money. If you give them even the slightest hint they might get you next time, they will persist. Pressing buttons can be that hint. If you talk to them, feel free to call them scammers before cutting the call then they usually move on as they know they will get nothing from you.

I have been told that there is a notice on the door of our village shop with an offer to collect and deliver orders placed by phone, for those who are in self-isolation. It’s a member of the Costcutter group.

Well done.

Judith Connolly says:
23 March 2020

I am the eldest in my area but I am fortunate to have wonderful neighbours who all offer help if needed. I had a medical problem and in my local Sainsbury’s, Management & ground floor staff could not do enough to help me with a particular purchase.They went beyond the call of duty and brought tears to my eyes, not tears of sadness. Thankyou to all.

Not being able to get to my 80 year old parents myself, it is beautiful and heartwarming to hear them tell me about yet another of their neighbours asking if they need anything. I am also pleased with the efforts the supermarkets are making to assist, particularly with online deliveries. We don’t think of supermarket workers as being key workers, but they are truly essential. On the other side, we have the selfish, dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, who have caused the stock shortages in the first place, which has then forced everybody else to panic buy.

My window cleaner ‘phoned yesterday offering to do my shopping as & when necessary.
I have also had offers from 3 near neighbours & 2 younger friends .

BBC Norfolk has just reported that scientists at the University of East Anglia have begun making hand sanitiser to help a local council and the NHS cope with the coronavirus outbreak –

“Chemistry labs at the University of East Anglia were quiet after teaching and research stopped, so Norfolk County Council and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital asked staff to produce gel. . . . All of the technicians who were normally in the science teaching building jumped at the chance to make a contribution. Within a very short time they hade made about 170 litres of hand sanitiser and were appealing for materials and ingredients so they could make more to meet the requirement.”

David Steele says:
24 March 2020

Lisa and Nigel Our Next Door Neighbours have been really great yesterday for lunch we had cottage pie,
evening we had rice pudding and this evening we had chicken casserole. absolutely Great,
Cant thank them enough.

Andrew Walker says:
25 March 2020

I’ve no doubt the NHS do a great job and will continue to do so. But I work on the wards for a private hospital with mental health patients and do exactly the same job as my equivalent worker in a NHS hospital close to my home, The supermarkets can’t help me to get my shopping after a 12 hour shift and I don’t get any of the generous concessions given by other companies regardless of the fact I am in the very same nursing profession and registered with the RCN. It just seems a little bit unfair that the government and the rest of the population don’t recognise the nursing population as a whole.

That is a fair point Andrew.

I suppose the government is acting as a good employer towards its staff in the NHS and expects other health employers to do the same, but the ability to do so does not exist because the government has unique powers and influence.

Given that the private health sector takes some pressure off the NHS – for which fee-paying patients get no tax relief – and is now placing an enormous additional capacity at the disposal of the NHS, it would seem fair to make the same eligibility for preferential access to priority shopping facilities available to clinical staff in private health establishments. The government would only need to request the supermarkets to make sure they do not discriminate against you and your colleagues, and for you to present your ID badges at the stores; there are no costs involved or maters of political principle at stake in my view. Has a supermarket actually declined to serve you?

The NHS has had a splendid response to its call for volunteers to help during the coronavirus crisis: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/25/astonishing-170000-people-sign-up-to-be-nhs-volunteers-in-15-hours-coronavirus

We have a splendid handyman called David who calls every Monday, goes food shopping, fetches medicines and collects our pensions. He is a diamond. He also phones during the week to ensure we are well. What more could we ask for? We are disabled pensioners and really appreciate his kindness.