The daily updates on the global spread of the coronavirus are undoubtedly causing many to worry about how it may affect their lives now and in the future.
In times of uncertainty, you will always be able to find certain individuals who make it their mission to bolster the morale of those around them.
From volunteers using hashtags to help those in need to children taking part in an online art club, here nine heartwarming examples of people coming together to support one another amid the Covid-19 outbreak:
Sharing the full story, not just the headlines
1. Volunteers help vulnerable in self-isolation
Certain individuals, such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions, are particularly susceptible to the virus, and so have been advised to stay indoors and reduce their social contact with others.
In Ireland, the hashtag “#SelfIsolationHelp” began doing the rounds, which people began using to offer assistance and run errands for people who have been asked to self-isolate.
“There was so much negativity and I wanted to do something useful. This is about people feeling like they are not on their own, and that there are people out there who do want to help,” Samantha Kelly, who set up the hashtag, told The Times.
Meanwhile, over the course of 72 hours more than 35 Facebook groups were set up in Canada as part of a “caremongering” movement.
“Scaremongering is a big problem,” Valentina Harper, who helped set up the first group, told the Biorports. “We wanted to switch that around and get people to connect on a positive level, to connect with each other.
“It’s spread the opposite of panic in people, brought out community and camaraderie, and allowed us to tackle the needs of those who are at-risk all the time – now more than ever.”
2. Supermarkets introduce dedicated shopping hours for elderly
Several supermarkets, including an Iceland branch in Belfast, have set up dedicated shopping hours for the elderly.
In doing so, they hope to allow the elderly to do their food shopping without having to worry that other customers have emptied the shelves first.
The Lidl and Tesco franchises in Ireland recently announced they had established early hours for the elderly, with Tesco adding that their carers are also welcome to shop at the same time.
“This is a time for help. And at Tesco, thousands of our colleagues are working hard to help make sure that our communities have everything they need,” Tesco said in a statement.
“From Wednesday March 18th, we will introduce dedicated time-in-store for over 65s and family carers.
“Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings up to 9am will now be a dedicated time for our senior citizens and family carers to have more space and a helping hand where needed.”
3. Small shops help local community in need
Last week, it was reported that a corner shop in Stenhousemuir, Scotland was giving away thousands of pounds worth of free supplies to those in need.
The corner shop has been giving away free face-masks, antibacterial hand gel and cleaning wipes to over 65s in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Asiyah and Jawad Javed, who run the cornershop, said the act of generosity had cost their business about £2,000.
“We are just trying to help people who can’t get out the house,” said Ms Javed.
Another corner shop in Drylaw, Edinburgh has also been giving away free products, providing the elderly with toilet roll, antibacterial hand wash and paracetamol.
Owner Zahid Iqbal said the initiative has cost his business around £5,000, stating: “We just want to set a good example in this world.”
4. Postcard campaign launched to battle loneliness
While self-isolating may protect individuals from catching or spreading the coronavirus, it is inevitably going to cause some degree of loneliness.
Becky Wass, a freelance copywriter from Falmouth, Cornwall, came up with a novel idea to help combat loneliness: a postcard scheme that allows vulnerable members of society to request that others carry out certain errands for them.
The postcard, designed and created by Becky and shared on Facebook, offers help with errands such as shopping, collecting urgent supplies or alternatively offers something simple like a chat on the phone.
When it is dropped through a person’s door, the members of the household can fill out all the options to dictate what they need.
5. Italian people in lockdown join in sing-alongs
A week ago, it was reported that Italy had been put under total lockdown.
While such extreme measures will have likely been quite frightening, some communities have been doing what they can to boost morale with a bout of heartwarming sing-alongs.
Videos have been circulating extensively on social media of people in Italy coming out on their balconies to sing with one another.
One Twitter user shared a thread of the videos on the social media platform, writing: “Italians in lockdown all over Italy are keeping each other company by singing, dancing and playing music from the balconies. A thread to celebrate the resilience of ordinary people.”
The thread includes videos filmed in Salerno, Naples, Turin, Benevento and Siena, and has been liked more than 170,000 times.
6. Noel Fielding launches online art competition
For any children who are having to stay at home amid the coronavirus outbreak, it may be difficult for them — and their guardians — to stay in top spirits.
Noel Fielding devised an innovative way to allow youngsters to keep their creative juices flowing, announcing that he would be organising an online art club.
Fielding outlined that all were welcome to take part in the club, which involved him choosing a theme and giving participants a couple of hours to create an artwork based on it.
He then proceeded to share some of his favourite entries, many of which came from a horde of artistic children.
“You gotta love this! Kids are so pure. Art Club was beautiful today. Thank you to everyone who joined in. I love you all. keep safe and keep smiling and creating,” he later tweeted.
7. Musical aficionados share their talent
The cancellation of many events due to Covid-19 has meant that many school musical productions were unable to take place.
Broadway star Laura Bebioreportsti did not want the talent of those who were due to take part in productions go to waste, which is why she shared tweet imploring people to send videos of themselves singing.
“Dark times for all. Trying to find some bright spots. If you were meant to perform in your high school musical and it was cancelled please post yourself singing and tag me. I want to be your audience!!” she tweeted.
Many people responded, sharing videos of themselves performing and singing songs from plays including Hamilton, Matilda and Footloose.
Bebioreportsti later tweeted stating that anyone else who wishes to share videos of themselves performing musical numbers should do so using the hashtag “#SunshineSongs”.
8. Nightclub to transform into food distribution centre
One of the UK’s largest nightclubs recently announced its plan to turn into a giant warehouse to store food and other essential items for those in need.
London’s 338, which has a capacity of 3,000, said it is calling on “young clubbers” to give up their time to help those in need.
“Right now, a huge priority for the club is to try to protect the most vulnerable members of society and a big part of this is enabling those in high-risk categories to stay at home and not be forced to go shopping where they may be exposed to the virus and may also be overwhelmed and frightened by panic buying and empty shelves,” the owners said.
Dan Perrin, the club’s event director, stated that the venue is aware this will be a “huge project”, adding: “It’s not something we have done before.”
“But the hope is that we can bring together the young clubbers of London to help the elderly at this critical time,” Perrin said.
9. Calls to purchase gift certificates and vouchers to support small businesses
While the spread of the coronavirus may mean you are unable to partake in activities you enjoy such as going to restaurants or going to the theatre, it is important to consider how businesses may suffer from loss of customers.
Writer Caroline Moss shared a tweet explaining that purchasing gift certificates may be a good idea, as it will mean you can support businesses and then use their services at a later date.
“A good tip from a pal: support small businesses TODAY by buying gift certificates. They get the money now, you can go back and use the gift card later!” Moss wrote.
“Local folks are doing this with a new restaurant in town… it would be so sad to lose the places that make our communities wonderful,” one person responded.
If you have any coronavirus symptoms or have recently travelled to an affected area, contact the NHS helpline on 111 and do not visit your GP or hospital.