Supporting Your Community During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak

Last Updated: 18/06/2020 at 14:05

Due to the coronavirus outbreak, measures have been brought in that mean we all have to spend more time at home. 

Remember, unless you're self-isolating, at the moment you should only leave your home for limited reasons, such as:

  • shopping for basic necessities (such as food and medicine) and at other shops that are open (find out more about restrictions and how to practice physical distancing when shopping)
  • exercise and other outdoor activity alone or with members of up to two other households at a time. For rules on forming an extended household, see the Scottish Governments advice on meeting others
  • to use outdoor spaces for other recreational purposes - for example to sit or relax alone or with members of up to two other households at a time
  • to ensure basic animal welfare needs are met, including taking dogs out
  • for any medical need, including to donate blood, to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help someone who may be at risk
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home
  • to access recycling or waste disposal services - for example, local authority household waste recycling centres
  • to attend a place of worship for one of the permitted uses (to attend a funeral service, to broadcast an act of worship, to carry out essential voluntary services or for individual prayer or contemplation, alone or with members of your household) 

There are still ways that you support people in your community and we have had lots of requests from young people about how to do this.

Here are a few suggestions on how you can help out during the outbreak and help everyone feel a little better.

#ViralKindness

#ViralKindness is a campaign set up by Becky Wass which aims to support those who want to help out in their communities. If you want to help, fill in a small postcard (or make your own) and put them through the letterboxes of those who may need assistance.

One way some people are letting others know that they may require assistance is by displaying a green card in their window. While the card is green, it means everything is fine. If it changes to red, it means they need help with something. Let people in your street know that you're looking out for their cards - it might help someone with no other way to communicate get the help they need.

Help might include collecting essential food, medicine or even writing a letter or postcard. Small acts can really make a big difference to how someone is feeling. 

One simple way to lend a helping hand to those who are self-isolating or to the more vulnerable people in your community is to offer to pick up their groceries for them. Because supermarkets are so busy right now, vulnerable people may avoid going. Picking up some extra shopping for your neighbours can help to reduce their stress.

Remember, if you're picking up food for someone who is self-isolating (because they have coronavirus or have come into contact with someone who has), you'll need to leave the shopping at the door for them to pick up once you're at least two metres away from them. 

Have a phone conversation

Most of us rely on our daily trips out for socialising with others, and even though the rules around this are relaxing a little bit, you can still only meet with people from ONE other household per day and the group can be made of no more than 8 people. You also can't travel over big distances to meet people either. Check-in with your friends, neighbours and relatives who may be feeling lonely or are too far away to see in person right now. A quick ten-minute phone call every couple of days can really help to lift spirits, for both you and the person you're calling. 

Support local charities 

Local charities support people in your community everyday. They will be well placed to support your community and know the needs of the people that live there. Search for local charity websites and have a look on social media to see if there are ways you can support them, that might be by volunteering your time online (there are more and more digital opportunities now), donating money or donating food to a local foodbank. 

On 30th March, the Scottish Government launched the Scotland Care campaigns which encourages people to volunteer during the coronavirus. People who are healthy and not at risk can volunteer to provide practical or emotional help to those most in need. Find out more.

Support local businesses

While what we can do socially has just changed, unfortunately for some smaller local businesses, the rules around which businesses can be open still have to be pretty strict. Local businesses often depend on in-person purchases, whether it's a cup of coffee or a trip to a local cinema. Consider buying a gift card online that you can use at a later time, for yourself or a friend, to give the business a small boost. If you're shopping online, see if there are local businesses you can support.

Donate blood

You can still donate blood during the coronavirus outbreak, and travelling to give blood is considered essential travel. The NHS is always looking for donors to keep its supplies of blood full for those who need it and with additional hospital admissions expected, this will be really important. Guidance on who can and can't give blood, as well on information on how to donate, can be found on the NHS Blood and Transfusion website.

"Giving blood and platelets is a medical need and a form of helping vulnerable people. It is essential to patients and the NHS. Please keep donating." - NHS Blood & Transplant

Local community support

There are many local groups on websites such as Facebook and Nextdoor.co.uk, which aim to organise support for communities by taking requests from those that need it and matching them to those offering to help. If you want to help but don’t know where to start, consider looking for a group local to you.

Do you have your own idea on how to support your community? Peace First are offering grants of up to $250 USD, online mentorship, and support, to help you help your community during these difficult times. Whether it's making sure vulnerable people in your neighbourhood get food or medicine, or helping people feel less lonely as they are staying at home, Peace First can offer lots of help. Rapid response grants are open to young people between the ages of 13-25, anywhere in the world.

Learn more about the grant.
Apply for the grant.

Be a great friend 

It's natural to feel nervous and anxious at the moment with everything that is going on. Many of your friends and family will probably be feeling this way. Take time to be a good friend, especially to anyone who may be self-isolating - have a dinner date video conversation, play an online game or send frequent voice notes. Keeping in touch and supporting your friends during this time, is really important. And remember to ask for help if you're struggling too. 

More information from Young Scot on Coronavirus (COVID-19)