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.
Supporting our key workers
We’re in absolute awe of the sacrifices our brilliant key workers are making to keep the country running and take care of our most vulnerable. We’ve been clapping for the NHS every Thursday night and signing up to volunteer our time, but these organisations have been thinking outside the box.
Peloton in Liverpool is donating a refurbished bike to a local key worker every week over the period of the pandemic. This week’s peddler is a gorgeous foldable vintage shopper with saddle bag.
To support and give thanks to local hero key workers, Proove is giving away a tray of pizzas (x15) every day in West Didsbury and the local area. The company is appealing to the public and local communities to nominate a team of key workers who deserve a tray of tasty pizzas. To nominate, send a message to this email: email@example.com
Big Green Coach is offering a free service for NHS frontline workers available for Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott’s Free Concert For NHS Workers at Nottingham Arena on October 13.
And Bolton Council of Mosques has put together care packages of essential food and snacks and donated them to Bolton NHS workers.
Mental health matters
Coronavirus has plunged the world into uncertainty and the constant news about the pandemic can feel relentless. All of this is can take its toll on people’s mental health, but there are some excellent schemes providing support.
Mortal Fools from Prudhoe in Northumberland has released a series of videos to help people work through the emotional fallout following the change in our circumstances. They have released two videos, Why we’re suddenly tired, snappy and selfish and That thing we’re all feeling… that’s grief. Here’s how we can handle it. New videos will be posted on its YouTube channel.
Liverpool’s Wellbeing Enterprises is encouraging people to call them for a wellbeing chat. The coronavirus may keep us physically apart, but they are only a phone call away if you need to connect with a friendly voice. 01928 589 799 or 01928 576 493.
Charity organisation Humans MCR is providing an emergency food parcel service, delivering to the most vulnerable people in Greater Manchester. Donation points are located across Manchester (including The Creameries in Chorlton) where people can contribute items but, as they are feeding up to 100 people a day, the need is growing, and they are asking for much-needed funds. Click here to find out how to support this brilliant initiative.
Levenshulme Inspire may have closed the doors to its centre but it’s continuing to support the community by providing a freshly cooked meal every day to a group of 50 targeted older or vulnerable people who do not fit into the ‘shielded’ group but are still in need of support. They have also delivered food bags on Fridays to all those who would normally get food bags from their The Bread & Butter Project. Working with Levy Corona Helpers they have managed to mobilise a team of 30 delivery drivers. This is only one of the supporting activities they are currently providing, but you can read more about what they are doing and how you can support their work here.
Wythenshawe Good Neighbours (embedded in the Manchester Age Friendly Strategy) has responded to COVID 19 by adapting its services and extending them to new referrals. They are offering telephone befriending to make sure older people can stay connected, mobilised a service to pick up prescriptions, and are sign-posting to food parcels and delivery services.
North West e-commerce and technology group THG (The Hut Group) has announced a £10 million aid package to support vulnerable communities, key workers and the emergency services during the Covid-19 pandemic. Half of the cash will go directly to Manchester, with £1 million split between We Love MCR Charity’s Covid-19 Community Response Fund and the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity which helps homeless people. It will also provide £4 million of critical products and services which will be distributed across key sites in the region including NHS staff on the frontline and vulnerable people. These include essential vitamins, foods, supplements, personal care and hygiene products. The remaining £5 million of aid is being delivered to areas outside of the North West including international markets.
Speaking of The Greater Manchester Mayor’s Charity, the non-profit has granted an emergency £100,000 to the city’s homelessness charitable sector and launched an urgent appeal calling on big business and individuals to donate funds to support voluntary, community and social enterprises during the COVID-19 crisis. These donations will be essential in supporting the vital work of the voluntary, public, private and faith sectors as they work flat out to safeguard the health and wellbeing of people across Greater Manchester living without a home. Donations will form the basis of packages of goods to be delivered to those homeless people currently living in hotel accommodation following last week’s announcement of a multi-million-pound package of support.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and the restrictions that followed, life at South Pennine Community Transport has changed dramatically. The company has introduced ‘meet the bus, get your stuff’ where people can order essential items which are placed on a bus for collection the following day with no need to travel. To help key workers, they are also providing free travel for NHS workers and have diverted a service via Huddersfield Royal Infirmary. They have recently teamed up with their local Food Bank at Full Life Church and are taking orders for essential items and hampers for individuals and families. They are delivering these directly.
Wilmslow Health Centre has introduced a new ‘drive-thru’ coronavirus testing hub. Councillor Hannan Sarwar from Wilmslow requested volunteers and was overwhelmed to receive dozens of offers of support. It is through the generosity and selflessness of these volunteers that the health centre can continue to serve its community. Local resident James Bunker is offering his expertise of running an event engagement company and has been supporting the organisation of this campaign. Bunker says: “We are managing the unusually busy pharmacy and helping with crowd control with the social distancing in mind. We are also helping manage the centre becoming a Covid-19 testing hub and making sure these cases are being isolated accordingly to reduce the spread of the virus.” Others have volunteered to collect prescriptions and deliver essential shopping to those in isolation.
Arts companies are keeping us busy
Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books, is partnering with Andersen Press to provide free and accessible readings of their picture books in exclusive weekly virtual storytimes to be shared on Seven Stories’ Facebook page. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdown, Seven Stories’ visitor centre is closed but it continues to create playful and profound experiences for children and young people through its online channels. The first reading will be I Don’t Want to Wash My Hands, read by author Tony Ross, which has become a surprise pandemic hit.
Rising star soprano Soraya Mafi (Harewood Artist of English National Opera, RNCM alumna and Honorary Associate Artist) is offering free lessons and advice to singers. Covering areas including repertoire, mental health and working in the industry, Mafi is generously sharing her expertise via Twitter.
Manchester-based Didsbury Gin has created one million bottles of hand sanitiser for Greater Manchester Police and the NHS to keep them healthy while on the front line of the coronavirus crisis, and Warrington’s 3 Pugs Gin has produced a hand sanitiser using its alcohol stock which it has been delivering it to local charities who are responding to the crisis.
And tech consultants Inevitable, based in Manchester, is responding to the COVID-19 situation by offering free advice to businesses and assistance in this time of need. The assistance spans business, technology, algorithms, GDPR, pipelines, contacts and general innovation/problem-solving to adapt to the current situation. Details can be found on the website.
By Emma Yates-Badley, Deputy Editor