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Coronavirus: Communities come together to help vulnerable

Coronavirus: Communities come together to help vulnerable

Published by May Norman at 12:25pm 16th March 2020. (Updated at 8:14am 17th March 2020)

Coronavirus: Community groups spring up to support people self-isolating

  • People across Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale are banding together to support and protect their most vulnerable during the coronavirus.
  • People are offering help and support to the elderly and vulnerable via social media community groups.
  • Many have groups formed as people over the age of 70 may be asked to self-isolate due to the coronavirus.

In the wake of the coronavirus, several online community groups across Harrogate, Craven and Wharfedale have been set up to help people the vulnerable and elderly in their communities.

It comes as people over the age of 70 could be told "within the coming weeks" to stay at home for an extended period to protect themselves from coronavirus.

If it happens, they will be asked to stay home for "a very long time", Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

People are joining forces on social media to create a support network for those who will be self-isolating.

There are as follows:

The groups have been started to help with simple things such as getting prescriptions, food supplies or even walking the dog - which could become difficult for those who are unwell or self-isolating.

Members of the groups want to ensure that "no one in the community is being left alone during coronavirus".

Susie Little, who set up the Covid Co-Operation, Harrogate group wrote on the page:

"I’m setting this group up to bring together people who NEED help, and people who CAN help, during this unprecedented time we find ourselves in.

If you are well (ONLY if you are well) and are able to run errands for people who aren’t, please write a new post saying whereabouts in Harrogate you are (roughly).

If you are elderly, vulnerable or ill, please message me directly and I will match you with someone close to you who can potentially help. Any shopping etc will be delivered to doorsteps - no actual contact will be made.

I’m in Birstwith, but regularly drive into Harrogate town centre - let me know if anyone on the north side of Harrogate needs anything.

We all need to pull together and help each other out - PLEASE JOIN THE GROUP & SHARE and let’s make people’s lives a little bit easier and less worrying."

The community are coming together during the coronavirus

Spofforth Deli and Post Office have a team of volunteers ready to help. 

Perscriptions from Leeds Road Surgery in Harrogate are being dropped off at the shop, so people don't have to travel into Harrogate for their medicine. 

Prescriptions can be delivered if people are self-isolating. 

As well as handing out prescriptions, the team is happy to deliver shopping or offer a friendly phone call.

To find out more call the shop on 01937 591358 or email

Those contributing to a Facebook group called Skipton Step into Action wrote:

"I’m happy to help Embsay Skipton area . If anyone is struggling to get shopping etc or just needs a person at the end of the phone then message me . Don’t be alone . Stay positive."

Another added:

"I’m happy to help out either by providing support to neighbours that need it and/or I am happy to volunteer with existing groups that might need more volunteers if their usual volunteers can’t help or demand on their services increases or changes. It would be good to know which groups need extra support."

Coronavirus postcard
A postcard made by Becky Wass in Cornwall (source: Sky News)

Many of the groups are aware that some elderly or vulnerable may not have access to Facebook and therefore are unaware of the support available or are not able to ask for help.

In response, there are plans to get leaflets produced and distributed locally.

However, there have been many posts where people are already asking for help.

One read:

"Hi, I have mobility issues and currently have carers visit twice daily to help me. In the event of isolation I assume I will not longer receive visits and can't cook by myself, at times I have my son here but not all the time. I'm in the bilton area."

A member of the Covid Co-Operation, Harrogate group wrote:

"We are both the wrong side of 70, but, if we end up having to stay at home, we would love the chance to contact isolated people regularly by phone, to reach out in friendship and have regular chats with them. We could also flag up any particular needs. Would this be useful?"

Elderly hands clasped in sadness

However, there are fears criminals may exploit the goodwill of these groups.

Some have members that are local police officers and others with safeguarding expertise.

Those listed as admin insist safeguarding measures are in place to protect the elderly and vulnerable.

However, Stray FM would always advise people follow their own personal security measures - such as not disclosing personal details and asking for ID.

If you're setting up a community group, let us know and we'll add it to this list and to our live blog.

For all other advice on coronavirus, click here.