Staying apart doesn’t mean we can’t stick together; amazing community initiatives are popping up all around the country in support of those who need it most. From preparing free meals to distributing soap and sanitiser, here are some of our favourite positive projects to get behind right now.
While social distancing slowly becomes a part of our daily lives, being far apart from one another has, funnily enough, brought with it a poignant sense of togetherness. As neighbours in Italy joined in song from their balconies and children decorated rainbow-adorned posters with the slogan ‘Andrà tutto bene’ (it will all be okay), this community spirit has continued to blossom all around the world.
This phrase of hope has now been translated into many different languages, accompanied by a desire to be there for others. And as we settle into a routine of long days at home, an ensuing awareness of our community responsibility has seen heartwarming initiatives spring up around the country. People in a position of privilege are thinking about those more vulnerable, and how life on lockdown may affect members of society in different ways.
Individuals are delivering food supplies, while charities are collecting funds to help everyone from those living on the streets to children missing out on valuable schooling. While we may be at home for the foreseeable future, there are many ways you can get involved – whether by donating funds signing up and showing your support. Here are some of our favourite positive projects to support in the coming days.
Images: Chefs in Schools, First Book
Chefs in Schools
As children around the country now miss out on the daily meals usually provided at school, there is increasing economic pressure on families to feed them. Chefs in Schoolsis providing free school meals to eligible pupils who are now at home, as well as helping to feed the children of key workers. It is also inviting chefs to volunteer and restaurants to lend their kitchens, as well as donations from individuals to make this work possible.
Clap for our Carers
With doctors, GPs and nurses now working around the clock to treat those with the virus, Clap for our Cares are coordinating a country-wide display of gratitude for those on the front lines. On 26th March at 8pm, it is encouraging people to join together for a huge round of applause, showing our appreciation for the important work that they are doing. Share its social media post to spread the word and be ready to clap tomorrow evening.
Beauty Banks have long been on a mission to make ‘hygiene poverty’ history by making toiletries such as soap accessible to everyone. Like a food bank but for personal care items, the team of two have launched a special campaign to provide emergency hygiene parcels that will help protect those at higher risk and more vulnerable to being infected by the virus. Any donations they receive will be spent on soap, bodywash, handwash, hand sanitiser, laundry detergent and tissues.
Image: Made in Hackney
Coronavirus has shut down schools, so First Book are on a mission to deliver seven million books to children in who don’t have access to internet or libraries to keep learning. While teachers and parents grapple to get to grips with at-home learning, its campaign is collection donations to provide educational resources to kids from lower-income families, making sure they don’t fall behind. It is also offering marketplace, providing books to teachers at much more accessible prices.
Made in Hackney
London’s community cooking school Made in Hackney is helping the most vulnerable members of our society by running a free meal delivery service direct to their doorsteps. So far, donations have enabled them to provide 12,000 free meals over the next two months to the elderly or those with existing health conditions, who cannot easily pop to the shops for supplies. As well as donating, you can also refer a neighbour in need for a free meal a day, making sure they won’t go hungry during the crisis.
Bloody Good Period
As shoppers around the county stockpile goods, we have all been met with empty shelves in the sanitary product section of our local supermarket. Since many members of our community simply don’t have an income that allows them to bulk buy, Bloody Good Period have set up a ‘Take What you Need Scheme’ in its storage facility in Alexandra Palace, London. Open to asylum seekers, refugees or those who are in financial hardship as a result of the pandemic, you can help them keep stock levels topped up by donating via their website.
Images: Bankuet, Bloody Good Period
The older community are among the worst affected by the current pandemic, meaning Age UK’s daily services have seen a huge increase in demand. The charity has set out to raise £10 million to support the elder generation during this time of crisis, from manning its regular helplines to providing company for those in self-isolation with regular phone calls and delivering food parcels within local communities.
The #ViralKindness initiative began with a single act of generosity from 32-year old Becky Wass in Cornwall, who designed a postcard for people to share with their neighbours during the coronavirus crisis. Her plea to make ‘kindness go viral’ was met by an overwhelming response, as people all around the country printed off postcards to distribute to their local community, offering friendly phone calls or trips to the shop. You can get involved by downloading the postcard to share with your neighbours or simply by using the hashtag #ViralKindness to share your daily gestures on social media.
Food banks are starting to suffer with the current stockpiling situation, but Bankuet is making it possible for people to donate essential supplies to them while staying home too. Its newly launched scheme allows people to choose a bundle for its local food bank online, helping them keep stock levels up and continue to feed those most in need.
Image: Our social media editor Julia’s grandma’s local community sticking together from apart(!)
Covid-19 Mutual Aid is a network of groups across the country offering help to their neighbours during the pandemic. Its website helps people to find community support groups in their local area, connecting with others via Facebook or Whatsapp, setting out to coordinate care efforts for people who are self-isolating, as well as offering support to those feeling most isolated or anxious throughout the pandemic.
In This Together
The ‘In This Together’ campaign by UK homelessness charity Crisis is raising emergency funds to help protect people living on the streets. While being stuck at home may be a minor inconvenience for many, those without a home may not be able to self-isolate, and risk exposure to the virus every day. Crisis are delivering essentials packages, providing people with mobiles so it can keep in contact and follow health advice, and most importantly, keeping their doors open to ensure no-one is left isolated and in danger.
Born as an online hub for people to stay in touch with what is happening in their neighbourhood, NextDoor has come into its own during the coronavirus crisis. Allowing people to simply sign up and be connected to their communities while staying home, the app lets neighbours to look out for each other from isolation. Need your weekly shop doing, or your dog walking? Just post on the app and invite others to help out.
Find out how best to support small businesses and creatives in times of need.
See our top tips for staying positive while working from home.