England

Coronavirus: How are people helping each other during the outbreak?

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Media captionCoronavirus: Three grandmothers self-isolating together

Coronavirus is grinding the country to a halt with school and business closures and health workers stretched. Tales of shop shelves being emptied by panic buyers and government social distancing advice being ignored have brought criticism, but the outbreak is also bringing the best out in some people.

With vulnerable neighbours and relatives being told to self-isolate, many communities are rallying around.

More than 1,000 volunteer groups have been set up to help those self-isolating during the coronavirus outbreak.

Tens of thousands have come forward offering to pick up shopping or deliver medicine to the most vulnerable across the country.

Image copyright Susan Connolly
Image caption Shops in Wiltshire have set up a free delivery service for people who are staying at home

A group of traders in Sherborne, Dorset, launched a service offering home deliveries and dog-walking.

Organiser Jules Bradburn said 60 people came forward to volunteer within hours of launching.

A pub in Gosport, Hampshire, has been offering toilet roll and handwash to locals after being inundated following an appeal when it ran short.

The Jolly Roger ended up with 150 loo rolls which it said it would distribute.

Leicestershire milkman Tony Fowler has also been delivering much more than his usual milk on his rounds to help those self-isolating.

Many of his customers are over 70 so he has been giving them whatever they need, from toilet roll to light bulbs.

"It's about making sure people are OK," he said.

Image copyright Constantine Bay Stores
Image caption Constantine Bay Stores has launched its 1950s club

Shops have also changed their hours to create special shopping sessions for those most at risk from coronavirus.

Constantine Bay Stores, near Padstow in Cornwall, now opens its doors between 08:00 and 08:30 GMT only for those born in or before 1950.

Owner Christopher Keeble said he hoped it would give older shoppers "a little bit of peace of mind".

Becky Wass, from Falmouth in Cornwall, went viral on social media with her postcard for people to offer help.

The print-at-home template has been used across the country, with those in need able to request shopping, urgent supplies or "a friendly phone call".

Many have taken it upon themselves to send messages of hope and positivity to others, with children across the country painting rainbows to put up in their windows.

Image copyright Angela Carss
Image caption Children have been putting up pictures of rainbows to spready joy and hope

With many care homes suspending visits, residents have taken it upon themselves to let their families know they are coping.

Residents at St Vincents Retirement Home in Ryde, Isle of Wight, wrote notes to their families which the care home shared for them.

Some people have started being pen pals, including 17-year-old Gracie Stewart from Norwich who has 26 of them.

She started writing letters to people 18 months ago after being diagnosed with a rare leukaemia, and urged people to "try something new".

"It preoccupies you writing letters because it can be dull when you're stuck indoors all day," she said.

Three grandmothers from Salford decided to move in together for the duration of their self-isolation.

Dame Vera Lynn tried to cheer the nation up by recording a video to mark her 103rd birthday.

Charlotte Bredael, 18, from Gosforth in Newcastle, is sending personalised videos to children as Disney princess Rapunzel.

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Media captionDisney princess' coronavirus videos aim to help make kids smile

Musicians in London have been holding impromptu concerts outside the homes of those self-isolating, while traders in Norwich have been delivering goods to a couple via a basket from their balcony.

Others have failed to let a global travel cancellations stop them, such as Robert Ormsby who saw a trip to Iceland collapse.

He had been planning to propose to his girlfriend Patsy Murdoch in the country, but found a way to still pop the question - at their local Iceland supermarket in Tonbridge, Kent.

People have also been keen to support bars, cafes and restaurants during the outbreak.

A number of voucher schemes have been launched to encourage people to pay now for meals they can have when the crisis is over.

Aidan's Kitchen in Newcastle got a big boost with one customer ordering 25 servings of his favourite pancake and coffee order totalling almost £250.

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