As people around the country follow government advice to go into self-isolation, support networks are springing up across Scarborough Borough to ensure that residents have all they need.
One such group, set up in Hunmanby, by resident Lindsay Gordon, now has over 230 members. The picturesque village is popular with retirees, meaning there are a large number of residents that fall into the vulnerable category as defined by the government..
Lindsay said she has been overwhelmed by the response to her call for support: “When news broke of the possible isolation of the over 70s and people with underlying health conditions I began to worry, as a lot of people here live alone and rely on walking to the village shops for their groceries.
“By all working together, we have managed to co-ordinate leaflet drops across the entire village with contact numbers for people who need help with shopping, prescriptions or just a chat.”
“Our volunteers range from teenagers to an elderly lady, who although isolating herself, has offered to bake cakes to be distributed around the village!
“Some local shops are offering deliveries and one of the local pubs is offering hot meals to be taken away and delivered to those in need.
“This just goes to show what can be achieved when people pull together to help support their community. I've already had calls and messages from people who have received a leaflet messaging to say how grateful they are.”
The support group has so many offers of help that they even have a reserve list in place in case someone has to self isolate on the road they are allocated to.
Kaye Wardman-Seal, organiser of village event, Funmanby, said: “It’s a brilliant community spirit in Hunmanby, nearly all roads, closes and lanes have been leafleted. A young lad in the group has even volunteered to be a 'free paperboy.'"
The group has been welcomed by those living in the village.
Support group member, Sharon Crowley, said: “I had a couple of calls from neighbours to say how much they appreciate the offer of help if they become isolated.”
Hunmanby resident, Hayley Garbutt, said: “The whole village is just outstanding. We couldn't do it without each other. What an amazing village standing side-by-side next to each other in this time of need.”
Retiree, Dawn Etchell, explained the difference the group is already making to villagers, she said: “I am 70 and live in Hunmanby. My daughter lives away and we have no other family.
“This is no longer a worry for us thanks to the caring younger generation. They set up within days a support network for the whole village.
“I am fit, so I have done what I can in the evenings when it is quiet, caring for my friends who need support of any kind.
“These younger people need public credit for their valuable kindness, care and above all humanity of the highest standards.”
Councillor Michelle Donohue has been impressed by the speed of the response. She said that she has seen on a personal level how many good and caring people there are in Hunmanby: “I want to reassure people who are worried, that just as people have helped me in the past, there are people who will help them.
“I want to say to people ‘Don’t be afraid to ask if you need help or want someone to collect a prescription.’
“If they have worries about their job or benefits they can contact me on 01723 891891 or email: Cllr.firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do everything I can to help them.”
You can get in touch with the support group through their Facebook page: Hunmanby Support Group.