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Here to Help - back our campaign to support communities amid coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 March 2020 | UPDATED: 10:46 18 March 2020

There are fears donations to food banks will continue to drop as coronavirus escalates. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

There are fears donations to food banks will continue to drop as coronavirus escalates. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2017

We know little about how the next few months will unfold.

The number of confirmed UK coronavirus cases rose to 1,543 on Monday. Picture: GettyThe number of confirmed UK coronavirus cases rose to 1,543 on Monday. Picture: Getty

But it’s clear that we’re in for a strange time - and that plenty of people are likely to need a hand.

Today, with Norfolk County Council, we have launched our Here to Help campaign, in a bid to create an army of helpers to step in to offer that extra support.

Clearly, there are safety issues of which to be aware but there are all ways in which we can help - whether that’s dropping off food, walking a pet, phoning someone on their own or just pointing them in the direction of the most up to date advice.

MORE: Join our Here to Help Facebook group

People can help fight the spread of the coronavirus by continuing to regularly wash their hands with soap and water. Picture: GettyPeople can help fight the spread of the coronavirus by continuing to regularly wash their hands with soap and water. Picture: Getty

We’ve included a Here to Help postcard, which we would love to see people post through their neighbours’ letterboxes.

David Powles, editor of the EDP and Evening News, said: “We know that when we face upheaval, our communities pull together in their time of need. The outbreak of this virus is no exception, and already we’re seeing the kind gestures being made by businesses and people across Norfolk and Waveney.

“But we want to encourage everyone, where possible, to be involved. We might not be able to nip round someone’s house or pop over for a chat, but there are plenty of safe ways we can help others, whether’s that’s picking up the phone for a chat to lift someone’s spirits or offering to collect a prescription.

“We hope you’ll join us - there will be a lot of uncertainty over the next few months, but if we pull together we can do our best to make sure everyone is supported.”

Already, just as in previous crises, we’ve seen businesses and communities do just that- offering deliveries and running errands.

Dr Louise Smith, the county council’s director of public health, said: “To minimise the spread of coronavirus, more people will have to self-isolate if they have a cough or temperature.

“We recognise that some people may find this difficult, if they don’t have friends or relatives who can help them with shopping or other support.

“That’s why we’re launching this campaign, to encourage people to look after one another.”

Undated handout photo of Department of Health advert being launched to combat the spread of coronavirus. Picture: PA PhotoUndated handout photo of Department of Health advert being launched to combat the spread of coronavirus. Picture: PA Photo

And council leader Andrew Proctor, speaking on behalf of all Norfolk councils as chairman of the leaders’ group, said he had been heartened by the number of people who have come forward to offer support.

“Norfolk has great community spirit and I’m encouraging everyone to back this campaign.”

For more information or to download cards click here.

For updates, visit our Facebook page Norfolk Coronavirus Updates.

Our Here to Help postcard. Our Here to Help postcard.

You may also want to watch:

Here are some of the communities already pulling together

• A Cov-19 Mutual Aid - Norwich Facebook page has been set up and, as of Monday afternoon, already had more than 1,300 members.

Our Here to Help postcard. Our Here to Help postcard.

It says its goal is to organise help and support for the local community, in particular the most vulnerable.

In Horsford, to the north of the city, people have started offering assistance to others, including with their shopping, collecting prescriptions or offering a telephone call.

It has seen a Horsford Helpers group set up, and leaflets will be distributed.

• In the Broads, churches in Ludham and the village’s parish council have come together to help others.

Claire Ashton is spearheading the Horsford Helpers group. She said she was overwhelmed at how many people had volunteered to help - with 240 members waiting to assist those in need.Picture: supplied by Claire AshtonClaire Ashton is spearheading the Horsford Helpers group. She said she was overwhelmed at how many people had volunteered to help - with 240 members waiting to assist those in need.Picture: supplied by Claire Ashton

Those in need of prescriptions, food or water can call the village car scheme’s number - 01692 511511 - and ask for help.

Supplies will be left on the doorstep, along with receipts so the person can settle up after the virus passes.

• In Dereham, Age UK Norfolk and Paul Sandford, the owner of The Railway Tavern, is putting together care packages for vulnerable people in the district. Mr Sandford will be offering free delivery to anyone aged 70 or above or in care facilities on food from his fish and chip shop.

In Dereham, Age UK Norfolk and Paul Sandford, the owner of The Railway Tavern in Dereham, will be putting together car packages for vulnerable people in the district. Picture: Victoria PertusaIn Dereham, Age UK Norfolk and Paul Sandford, the owner of The Railway Tavern in Dereham, will be putting together car packages for vulnerable people in the district. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

How you can help

• Stay in touch with those who are vulnerable. We might not be able to nip over and say hello in person, but picking up the phone to check in with those who are unwell or self-isolating could really make a difference.

• Share accurate information - sign post people to the correct information from Public Health England and encourage people to follow hygiene procedures.

• Think of how you can help - do neighbours need you to drop some shopping off by the front door? Pick up a prescription?

• Donate to your local food bank where possible - for many supplies are running low.

• Drop your Here to Help card through your neighbour’s letterbox to let them know you’re there.

• Swap numbers with people you live nearby.

• Be conscious of people’s mental health, and be mindful that self-isolating can take its toll on how people are feeling.


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