A GROUP of businesses, organisations and volunteers have banded together on Facebook to create a coronavirus help group.
CORONA Vulnerable People And Volunteers (Consett) was set up in the past week and has grown to more than 2,500 members.

The Northern Echo: Reece Brown helping out on the phonesReece Brown helping out on the phones

The group was set up by nine people who have used their particular areas of expertise to set up a number small working groups, managing a particular service area and volunteers.
The groups include: 

  • Pet care: run by animal lovers from the area in case anyone has any worries about their pets while on lockdown;
  • Groceries and shopping: for those people who are self-isolating and cannot go out to get their shopping, or are not confident enough to do it themselves;
  • Mental health: run by local mental health workers; 
  • Children: for advice about how to help children through the lockdown;
  • Friendly calls: for people who are lonely; 
  • Medication: for people who are self-isolating and need someone to get their medication for them;
  • Foodbank;
  • Medical advice: which includes doctors and nurses to help those who are worried.
  • Vulnerable people and leaflet distribution: to get the word out about the help the group provides. 

Founding member of the group Amy Vella who runs Imago Beauty & Holistics in Consett, said: “I saw lots of people on Facebook saying how do we get through this, someone should start a group. So, I did. I don’t do things by half I throw myself into it.”

The Northern Echo: Volunteers helping outVolunteers helping out

Jacqueline Jane Clarke is one of the nine organisers and is helping with the leaflet distribution. She said: “We are a group of professionals from doctors and nurses to vets and mental health practitioners.
“We set the group up because we knew straight away that there was going to be a need for it, the elderly who are most at risk are struggling to get the essentials. I think it is great that people have pulled together and everyone in Consett who could lend a hand has done so.

“We have had elderly on the phone to us crying in fear that they have no food, so we help them to get the food and we offer support and a friendly chat.”

The Northern Echo: Val McFarlane, mental health worker ready to helpVal McFarlane, mental health worker ready to help

The group is gaining a lot of momentum with Durham County Council promising help with the foodbank, and Shotley Bridge NHS printing leaflets. 
The group has also set up a GoFundme page and are hoping to raise £1,000 to use for helping elderly people, from buying shopping to medication.
For those in the Consett area who need help or who want to help volunteer you can join via Facebook at facebook.com/groups/162784901408501/