Northern Soul and People’s Powerhouse are partnering to share good news stories about businesses, people and communities coming together in the North of England and showing us the best of humanity during the COVID-19 crisis. We’ve heard so many examples of people showing great kindness and compassion and we think that these stories deserve to be shared far and wide. Let’s bring a little sprinkle of joy to people’s news feed and show the world how great Northerners really are, especially in challenging times.
In response to the difficulties many people face during the COVID-19 crisis, our region’s local organisations and individuals have come up with brilliant ways to provide support to the most vulnerable members of society.
A 1930s phone box in Carrbrook, Stalybridge has been repurposed as an honesty foodbank and community larder. Locals began to put basic items into the community larder before the coronavirus crisis, although plans to refurbish the phone box were put on hold when lockdown began. The phone box will be fitted with custom-built shelves and each pane of glass will be replaced and printed with a charity or wellbeing organisation.
Over the past few months, Salford CVS has been working hard to support the community including collecting and distributing bulk donations of food and pet supplies, sourcing PPE, delivering food parcels, collecting prescriptions, making creativity packs for young people, marshalling knitters of hearts, walking dogs, running Zoom training, raising funds, awarding grants and much more.
Finally, people unable to access food and medicines because they have been asked by NHS Track and Trace to self-isolate are being offered help by Bury’s Community Hubs. Volunteers from one of Bury’s five Community Hubs are ready to step in and deliver parcels of food or medicine to anyone who cannot get help from friends, family or neighbours, or access online deliveries. Since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, more than 800 volunteers and 90 staff at the Hubs have helped more than 2,000 households in Bury with shopping or medicine. The renewed offer of support from the Hubs applies also to people who are self-isolating for 14 days after returning from abroad. In addition, the volunteers have been helping combat loneliness by making regular phone calls to those in need.
Spreading gratitude and raising much-needed funds
During lockdown, Hawkshead Relish noticed that its customers were ordering products as thank you gifts for acts of kindness carried out during the COVID-19 crisis, so the team came up with their own way of spreading a little gratitude. For every jar of the limited edition Thank You Jam sold, 50p will be donated to Growing Well, a farm-based mental health charity located at Low Sizergh Barn and Farm Shop just outside of Kendal, which provides a safe, supportive working environment to help nurture mental health recovery. In addition, Hawkshead Relish has also developed a Thank You Gift Wrap and a Thank You Gift Bag available to buy, which also include the special edition ‘Thank You Jam’.
Talking of fundraising, a teenager has raised over £600 in aid of the NHS with a sponsored walk. Matthew Jones, a 13-year-old pupil at Samuel Laycock School in Ashton who has a high-level of additional needs and is still attending school every day, created the challenge to walk 2.6 miles around the school grounds and achieved his goal without stopping. Well done Matthew.
Meanwhile, Cerys Ashby, a 15-year-old student from Chesterfield, has written a charity single called Stand Up to thank keyworkers for their hard work throughout the coronavirus pandemic. All proceeds go to Ashgate Hospicecare’s Urgent Appeal. You can listen to the song here.
North West businesses respond to the crisis
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Business Response Network has made nearly 1,200 matches between local community groups, schools and charities and UK businesses that have been able to meet their urgent needs during the crisis. In the North West, this equates to 114 matches with recipients. Recent examples of matches in the North West include:
Manchester Airport introduced Business in the Community to an airline catering company which has donated over 100,000 meals, many delivered by airport staff volunteers, to communities in Greater Manchester.
TalkTalk, a BITC member, donated a batch of knives, forks and spoons to a charity tackling homelessness in Manchester. The cutlery has been used to continue a hot meal takeaway service throughout the pandemic, which provides nutritious meals to people that are homeless.
Tesco Mobile provided Groundwork Cumbria with 24 iPhones. Continued access to the internet is vital for the charity’s Choices Cumbria project, which is providing information, advice, guidance and training to young people.
And lastly, one for our four-legged pals. Manchester and Cheshire Dogs’ Home re-opened its doors this week and managed to get several dogs out to their new forever homes.
By Emma Yates-Badley, Deputy Editor