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How to give (and get) help locally

Two months into lockdown, many people in the North East still need support due to the impact of COVID-19. Here’s how you can find and offer help.

By Holly Hobkirk

Learn and volunteer new skills

Help Sew Scrubs

If you’re handy with a sewing machine, learn how to make scrubs for the NHS. Here’s a video tutorial to get you started. Once you’re clued up, volunteer to help your nearest Scrub Hub, who are providing donations to local hospitals.

Take a Mental Health Course

Support yourself or people you know by taking one of Mind’s mental health training courses. Anyone can enrol, and they have tailored options, whether you want to provide guidance to a team at work or someone at home. Browse them here. 

Help Citizens Advice

Skilled in admin, customer service, or media? Citizens Advice need help with all the above across the North East. Find out more here.

Ask for (or provide) neighbourly help

If you’re isolating and need support, or if you’ve got spare time to help others, make sure you let people know. Whether it’s for groceries or loneliness, you can offer and request help using C19 Assist, or sign up for a variety of volunteering services via Do IT. 

To help elderly neighbours, head to Age UK’s site — they’re providing training materials and printable ‘Volunteering Postcards’.

Help keep music and film venues open

Due to event cancellations, lots of venues are asking for support to help them reopen after lockdown. You can support nationwide independent music venues by contributing to #SaveOurVenues, or let businesses know you won’t be asking for money back on cancelled events via Forgo My Refund.

If you’ve got spare change on account of all those cancelled summer blockbusters, you can also buy Jam Jar ticket vouchers for key workers, or donate directly to Tyneside Cinema

Support these lovely local causes

Bedlington-based charity MIND Active is finding ways to tackle loneliness amongst older men with their ‘Grandad Groups’. They need some support to help launch more wellbeing clubs across the North East. Donate here

Local photographer Megan Jepson launched ‘Love Lockdown’ after documenting couples isolating together. She’s raising money in aid of the West End Women and Girls Centre, which has seen a large increase in referrals since lockdown was announced. You can contribute here.

Pic credit: @megjepson

Work with food banks

Lots of food banks have reduced their hours due to coronavirus, but they’re still offering and accepting donations. To find your nearest point, you can visit Fareshare, the Trussell Trust’s website, Washington Community Food Project, The BAY Foodbank, or Hebburn Helps.

Chester-le-Street’s anti-waste cafe REfUSE is also providing food to NHS staff and key workers. Donate to their campaign here.

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