Local communities across Greater Manchester have been organising themselves online in order to help out their neighbours following last week’s pandemic announcement from the World Health Organisation.
Reaching out to the isolated and vulnerable, volunteers are co-ordinating through community Facebook and WhatsApp groups to offer help with everything from shopping and picking up prescriptions to dog walking, showing in times of need Mancs are always there for each other.
Offering support to the elderly, disabled, isolated and/or immunocompromised, as of Monday morning there have been over 300 Covid-19 Mutual Aid groups set up across the country. Seventeen official groups are currently listed for different areas of Manchester.
These are operating in Blackley, Bury, Burnage, Chorlton, Clifton (Trafford), Castlefield, Fallowfield, Gatley (Stockport), Gorton, Heywood, Hulme, Levenshulme, Reddish (Stockport), Rusholme, Withington, Whalley Range and Wythenshawe.
Volunteers are mapping out streets and assigning people to cover different areas, with some even looking at contact records in telephone directories to ensure no one is left behind.
People are also using the groups to communicate shops that have stock of certain items that are currently in short supply, to help those going out on shopping runs for others.
Aware that not everyone is in a position to pay, some big-hearted Mancs have also been offering to pay for shopping, setting up fundraising pages for neighbours to donate money to a community shopping fund for the vulnerable.
Chorltonite Charlie Davies raised over £2,000 in a day after posting an appeal in the Chorlton Facebook group, which has 36,221 members.
Focused on preventing the spread of Covid-19 and providing support for the most vulnerable, the groups are prioritising safety using guidelines from QueerCare to ensure they don’t introduce the virus to a home or take it away.
The person delivering doesn’t enter the recipient’s home, items are cleaned and disinfected before being privately transported, and a distance of at least two metres is maintained at all times with those self-isolating.
Full guidelines from QueerCare on how to support others without spreading the infection can be found here.
The site has been built specifically for the COVID-19 pandemic and includes in-depth advice on safely gathering a group of people together to offer support and on delivering and collecting items from someone in self-isolation.
Local community shopping support groups currently set up online are listed below:
Redbricks (Bentley House Estate) Hulme