3 ways to help your community today

It's easy to feel totally overwhelmed by the effects and threat of COVID-19 but if this virus has shown us anything it's that we're in this together and we are all able to support one another.

From social distancing to donating to food banks, we've listed three ways we can help as individuals that will make a huge difference to our communities.

1. Buy independent and where possible local

More than ever we need to support our local independent shops and businesses. For example, buying some items from your local grocers rather than one of the bigger brand supermarkets. One great initiative we've been seeing is many people purchasing gift cards and vouchers to be used when quarantine restrictions are lifted - you'll only be able to go to your favourite restaurant if they're able to open their doors after this!

If you find you're saving by not going to the local pub or shopping on the high street, here are some amazing charities you can donate any spare pennies to…

  • Beauty Banks is a small charity that supports those in need of essential personal care and hygiene products. Purchase from its online wish list which then goes local charities who will distribute it to those who need it.
  • Mind are a mental health charity supporting those who are feeling the adverse effects of the lockdown on their mental wellbeing, and let's be honest we are all feeling it so please spare a moment for others in a less fortunate situation then ours, Mind's work is now more important than ever.
  • Young Roots works with young refugees by building and distributing emergency packs for our destitute young people impacted by the reduction of services usually provided.
  • Age UK is one of the nation's leading organisations that supports the elderly, they provide them with companionship, advice and general assistance, another charity who's work has become more important than ever.
2. Volunteer your time

No matter where you're living in the UK, there are still ways to volunteer that are local and national including The British Red Cross, Acorn, and St. Mungos that connect willing volunteers with people need assistance, including the vulnerable, elderly or homeless.

Another amazing way of supporting your community is by volunteering for the NHS - over a huge 750,000 people have already signed up to the NHS Volunteer Responders which we are totally blown away by. Volunteering in this programme includes non-medical day to day activities such as delivering medicines, driving people to appointments or contactingpeople who are self isolating to ensure sure those that are vulnerable are staying safe at home.

If however you are self-isolating yourself, because you’re ill or someone you live with is, but you're still in good spritis and want to help - you can! The internet and out smart phones sometimes get a bad rep but right now they're a wonderful, wonderful thing because they house apps like Next Door, a social networking platform connecting you with your local communities and neighbourhoods - allowing you to meet your neighbours and hopefully check in on someone who is struggling with loneliness.

3. If you're able, donate to your local food bank

The current pandemic has caused many of us to protect our homes, ourselves and our loved ones, often with a disregard for those less fortunate or vulnerable, and the current situation has put immense pressure on already strained food as sadly donations slow down but demand increases. More than 14 million people in the UK live below the poverty line and Corona virus will have pushed many more under that line. If you’re able in anyway to donate what you can, even a few tins, here are two brilliant organisations that will hlep you to donate across the country and remember lots of the big supermarkets often have a donation point too.

Trussel Trust a charity we featured recently on our newsletter, have over 1,200 food banks across the UK with information on their website about your local food bank and even what items are needed the most.

Fare Share are tackling two problems in one – food waste and hunger. They take good quality surplus food from across the food industry and get it to almost 11,000 charities and community groups, and you can volunteer in a number of ways!

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