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  

Bridge Rectifier

Volunteer driver, Lynn. Bridge Rectifier

We’re in awe of the sacrifices our brilliant key workers are making to keep the country running and their work taking care of our most vulnerable. Each week, many more businesses, organisations and individuals are responding in innovative ways to provide support to these brilliant people.

Many of Manchester’s Royal Exchange wardrobe team have joined the growing number of costume makers from the UK’s theatre, film and television departments who have come together as part of Helping Dress Medics to make scrubs for doctors and nurses on the front line. Joining the national effort, the Exchange team are part of a Greater Manchester Hub with around 36 makers. But to keep the sewing going, more fabric is needed. For more information on how to help make that happen, Helping Dress Medics has a GoFundMe page for anyone who wants to donate.

Bridge Rectifier in Hebden Bridge has made more than 3,200 visors which have been donated to local care homes. Volunteer driver Lynn (pictured) is preparing to deliver 40 face visors to a care home in Huddersfield. Please click here for more information on how to donate to this project.

Andrew Dwerryhouse and family wearing Wild Fang T-shirts

Andrew Dwerryhouse and family wearing Wild Thang T-shirts

Hyde Accessible Transport in Tameside is stepping up to help people through this crisis. Owner Shaun Delaney says: “My wife is a respiratory physio working on the front line. We are just trying to give something back. We have done nearly 400 free transport jobs for the NHS and key workers this week.”

In this time of need, Liverpool-based creative brand and merchandise specialists, Wild Thang, are throwing their weight behind the incredible work of the NHS during the Coronavirus pandemic. The business, which is based on Derby Road in Bootle, has created a range of t-shirts carrying messages of support and awareness. Half the purchase price of all t-shirts bought will go to good causes, and several t-shirts will be sent to front line NHS workers. Funds raised through the sale of t-shirts will be donated to the NHS Charities Together appeal.  

Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere Lake Cruises

Windermere Lake Cruises is donating food and drink from its vessels and pier cafes to Morecambe Bay’s hospitals as a gesture of goodwill to the front line NHS key workers. In line with government instructions not to operate due to the Coronavirus crisis, the attraction is donating snacks and beverages from both onboard and onshore shops to the UHMBT which would otherwise have gone to waste.

Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School is using its 3D printers to produce vitally needed visor frames for the front line staff at the East Lancashire Hospitals battling the coronavirus outbreak. The Waterfoot school is printing 160 of these free of charge and helping to support Royal Blackburn Hospital and local surgeries. Based on a face shield prototype the school was working on just before its closure, design and technology lab technician Janette Milligan has been spending her days producing the face shield headbands to meet the rise in demand from the NHS.

The Sewing Room

The Sewing Room

Meanwhile, The Sewing Room in West Lancashire has made more than 2,000 pieces of PPE which it have given away free of charge to key workers. The items of PPE have been made by a volunteer army of silver sewers.

April 2020 saw brewer Signature Brew (who are on a mission to revolutionise the quality of beer at live music events) team up with the women behind Manchester Punk Festival to launch a ‘hoppy and hopeful’ Nightingale New England Pale Ale. Considering the COVID-19 crisis, the team are now dedicating the beer to the staff of the NHS. For every beer sold, they will give a £1 donation to NHS Charities Together.

Finally, several healthtech companies from across the North of England are providing free access to their platforms and technology to help in the fight against COVID-19. Emis Health in Leeds is working alongside NHS Digital to help vulnerable patients, as well as providing free video consultations to more than 4,000 practices. SilverLink in Harrogate is providing its patient administration system to admit and track patients. Meanwhile, Northumberland’s Mistura Informatics has donated medicines information software. The Government has pledged to protect the firms responding to demand with a £1.25 billion support package so they can continue to develop new products.

Result CIC

Result CIC

Result CIC, a Greater Manchester community interest company based in Salford, is offering free coaching sessions to front line workers who are keeping the country going. Click here for more information. 

Communities united

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.

Open Kitchen Mcr

Open Kitchen Mcr

Open Kitchen MCR has rescued 1.1 million frozen airline meals that were marked as waste. This will now be distributed across Greater Manchester to those in need. One Linage have provided a huge freezer to store the food in.

Meanwhile, canteen food from furloughed J and J Ormerod in Bacup is helping to feed those in need in Rossendale. The kitchen, bedroom and bathroom manufacturer, with bases across the borough, took the decision to furlough all 350 staff after the Government announced the lockdown last month. For more information, visit the Facebook page here.

Alan Reid

Alan Reid

Alan Reid (pictured) was kindly given a comfort package from a five-year-old girl who has been busy making them for all the IUCT team at Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care.

We’ve been thoroughly cheered up by the messages of hope and thanks we’ve seen from our local community and it’s heartening to see these in the form of the children’s drawings that have popped up in living room windows, porches and chalked across the pavements. Manchester’s Great Northern Warehouse is now calling on Mancunians to send in a photo of their family’s inspirational creations as an extension of its Messages of Hope art initiative which urges city residents of all ages to use their creativity to generate positivity. 

Artwork submitted will be displayed on the Great Northern’s website, social media and in a charity exhibition once it’s safe for its doors to reopen. All proceeds will go to the Forever Manchester Community Support Fund which is helping those impacted by COVID-19.

Rochdale Borough Council has announced up to £500,000 of support to help struggling families hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis. As the outbreak takes its toll in the borough, families with children who currently receive means-tested free school meals are being handed a boost in the form of up to £130 of Aldi supermarket vouchers. Families with one child will be issued with £65 of vouchers, while families with two or more children will receive £130 in vouchers to spend on groceries and household essentials. COVAID-19Funding for the vouchers, which are being distributed by the council over the next three weeks to around 5,000 households, has been provided from the Government hardship fund aimed at helping the most financially challenged families buy everyday items that many of us take for granted. To find out more and for the latest updates and other support available during the pandemic visit the website.  

The Manchester Evening News has teamed up with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham to launch COVAID-19, a fund for the most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. The fund will be administered via the mayor of Greater Manchester’s charity which usually focuses on helping the homeless. Money will be used to help existing charities and voluntary organisations buy food parcels, toiletries, other basics, care and specialist support.

Arts companies providing relief for artists and vulnerable young people

With its doors and box office closed, The Lowry in Salford took to social media to raise money for a new fund created to support artists and vulnerable young people during this uncertain time. Donations to the Salford venue’s Futures Fund have topped £20,000. The money raised is being split equally between the two groups. Activity already delivered using the fund includes supporting artists via commissions and the provision of Art Packs containing paper, pens, pencils and paints to young people in care homes and homeless shelters so they can take part in the creative projects. Upcoming activity includes the creation of bespoke support for young parents and their children in Salford to help with children’s early development during lockdown and 1-2-1 mentoring support for the most at-risk young people in Salford. You can donate to the Futures Fund here.

Oak Tree Animal Charity

Oak Tree Animal Charity

Animal welfare

During the current crisis, it’s important we don’t overlook the care required by our four-legged pals. Considering this, Oak Tree Animal Charity in Carlisle has donated lots of cat and dog food. The organisation has been added to the emergency parcels that Carlisle COVID-19 aid group has been giving out to people who also have pets living in their home.

Meanwhile, bestselling author and lockdown poet K.C. Finn will be performing a selection of brand-new poems as part of the nationwide 2.6 Challenge supporting local British charities. Finn’s charity of choice is RSPCA Warrington, Halton & St Helens Branch, supporting animals in need during this time of crisis. Tickets are available on a ‘pay what you want’ basis and all tips donated during the show will be sent directly to RSPCA Warrington, Halton & St Helens Branch after fees and processing.

The People's PowerhouseBy Emma Yates-Badley, Deputy Editor