With the UK now firmly in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic and people being ordered to stay in their homes as much as possible, only going out for absolutely essential reasons, the way we would usually go about our lives has had to stop for the time being.
Across the country, however, volunteer groups are springing up everywhere to help those self-isolating and not leaving the house at the moment, ensuring they’re able to live as comfortably as they can over the next few weeks and, possibly, months.
Hackney is certainly no exception and the good news for those living in this part of London is that there are numerous options available to them, such as the community cookery school Made in Hackney.
According to the Hackney Citizen, the group has just launched its free food delivery service to help the most vulnerable in the local area during the outbreak. In just nine days or so, the charity has succeeded in raising more than 80 per cent of its £50,000 crowdfunding goal for the project after realising that the school would have to close.
Over the next two months, the team will be able to provide 12,000 meals and deliver them straight to people’s front doors, teaming up with local restaurant Angelina, which has now started cooking plant-based nourishing food for the most vulnerable households.
Founder Sarah Bentley was quoted by the news source as saying: “This is an emergency. There is a very real risk of our most vulnerable community members going hungry and becoming extremely isolated. If we can’t teach cookery classes, then we need to get nourishing food delivered to the people who need it most another way.”
Another company doing excellent work at the moment is vintage clothes shop and yoga retreat Paper Dress Vintage, which is helping with deliveries and bringing beer and toilet roll to those in dire need.
The music venue has had to be shut down and the regular timetable at the yoga school cancelled, so it has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help everyone out – while also keeping the business alive.
The Hackney Citizen also recently reported that more than 4,200 people have joined a local Facebook group to help locals out during the crisis. Members of Hackney Covid 19 Mutual Aid have apparently been volunteering themselves for food deliveries to the vulnerable, helpful local advice, dog-walking for anyone in self-isolation and so on.
London Fields nursery in Hackney, meanwhile, has said that it will remain open during the lockdown, offering a nanny service for any parents that need extra help with childcare and reduced costs for key workers, the Hackney Gazette reports.
Victoria Gottshalk from parent company FountLondon said: “At such an uncertain time, it’s paramount those who are still required to work have as little stress as possible and we want to help out wherever we can. Those parents are keeping the country going and need all the support they can get.”
Hackney Council itself has also set up a volunteer hub and a 24-hour helpline for anyone affected by the pandemic, especially anyone who is self-isolating and finding themselves cut off from help.
Mayor Phil Glanville observed that grassroots efforts like local mutual aid groups are making a massive difference to people who could otherwise be left feeling alone and very isolated.
“We know that the impact of coronavirus is going to be felt for a long time, and as a council our priority is to help to coordinate local support in a robust, safe and sustainable way that complements our own services, to make sure that it reaches our most vulnerable residents,” he said.
It’s important to stay as positive as you can at this particularly challenging time and hearing stories such as these of people doing all they can to help others will hopefully put a much-needed smile on your face.
You may find that you also want to do your bit and try to help those most affected by the crisis – these groups are sure to welcome any and all volunteers that get in touch.
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