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How to help your local community during COVID-19
14/04/2020
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Paula Heaney
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 The last few weeks have been a surreal experience for us all. Constantly seeking answers that no one is in a position to actually give us. We have been adjusting to a new normal, working from home surrounded by family and pets. Many of us are staying home and staying safe while others are staying home, isolating and recovering from the deadly virus that has taken hold across the globe.  

 

This has brought with it a lot of positives but also many negatives. If you have been lucky enough to be able to work from home, been furloughed or had the miss fortune of being made redundant there are lots of ways you can make a difference in your local community and have a reason to feel good and spread positivity during these extraordinary times.

 

There are hundreds of people in your local area who need your help. From a friendly phone call to food and medication pick-ups, to manning virtual phone lines and directing people to food banks. You can help regardless of your own level of vulnerability.  

 

Like many of us, our work loads have decreased and therefore buyfair is allowing its employees some flexibility during this time in order to take part in such activiites and help contribute to some fantastic causes. Below, I have put together just a few of the simpe ways that you can help your local community and help give back to those most in need at this time.

 

Shop locally 

 

By shopping locally, you are helping keep local business afloat and preserving local jobs. 

 

  

Many independent cafes and food outlets have started offering a delivery or collection service, meaning you can get your favourite dishes from your local restaurants whilst staying safe and supporting their livelihood.  

 

Using your local corner shops and convenience stores has the benefit of keeping you out of the large supermarket queues and the fight for toilet paper! 

 

Donate to food banks 

 

Foodbanks are getting more calls than ever as many more people are falling below the poverty line. However, it’s not just food donations they need right now though as many of their volunteers are 65+ years old and must be more careful thus staying home. Additionally, as other volunteers get sick, or have now had to stay home to look after their families, the foodbanks need help to ensure these vulnerable people are at least getting food to survive during this pandemic.  

 

 

Donating to foodbanks has never been easier with Bankuet, an online social enterprise that lets you donate to your local foodbank digitally. You can choose a foodbank on their website, pick a bundle of the items they’re most in need of and pay for them online. Those items are then delivered to the foodbank at a time that’s most convenient for them. This is a fantastic way to help those most in need, whilst keeping yourself safe and at home.  

 

You can find your local food bank here to start volunteering and donating food, today!

 

Volunteer 

 

The government has set up the NHS volunteer scheme, with the aim to help the 1.5 million vulnerable people who must stay at home for the next 12 weeks.  

 

 

They are using the Goodsam app for volunteer response.

 

To help those who are not classed as vulnerable but who may have to isolate due to having coronavirus, or a member of their household having it Mutual Aid is providing them with a great resource. They have listed over 2044 local support groups who have been established during this COVID-19 pandemic. If you don’t have a mutual aid group in your area this resource will guide you on how to set one up.  

 

 

 

have personally been involved in the setting up my local Kensal Green Mutual Aid group. Wstarted with just 5 people 3 weeks ago and have now recruited over 200 volunteers 

 

In that time, we have set up strong links with the council as lots of cases are beyond our remit, and the council have services in place to help them. We now fully understand who we can help and whose needs need to be escalated. We have a committee of 7 people who have helped to recruit the 200 strong team of volunteers. We have divided our area into sub wards and created a street team to serve each area. We have delivered a flyer to every house in our area giving them the details of our dedicated phone line and email. Our phone operators triage calls and use a ticketing system to sign post them to our street teams depending on each individual need. We have subgroups set up for food, medications, mental health, friendly phone calls, virtual community spirit, safeguarding, social media, design and finance. You don’t have to hit the shops or the street yourself as many of the roles are based online meaning you can still help while self-isolating yourself 

 

Get involved any way that you can, I can’t recommend it enough. Knowing that you can help people in need while we are under siege from this virus really does have a positive impact on your own wellbeing and as an added bonus you get to (virtually) meet and socialise with the neighbours you might have never met before meaning I feel more connected to my local community now, more than ever despite the lockdown restrictions. We are all already talking about what a big party we will have when we can all re-join society in the not so distant future.  

 

I am writing this piece on April 9th 2020 and as of tomorrow I will be furloughedYes it will be less than ideal surviving on a reduced salarybut it gives me more time to help out my community meaning more people can stay home, protect our NHS and save lives. 

 

I look forward to connecting with you all again our fantastic buyfair community, when life resumes once more. 

  

Stay safe and stay well. 

Paula 

 

Paula Heaney  

Growth and Customer Success Manager

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