So the inevitability of tighter restrictions on public gatherings looks only days away; with school closures, enforced working from home, overstretched essential workers suffering all very real consequences.
Beyond the immediate concern about ourselves and those we live with **and keeping perspective for a moment - most of us under-65 and without any underlying & serious health conditions/weakened immunity are going to be ok ** the more important concern to my mind is of its further transmission and spread: what happens during the coming weeks to those of our neighbours that become housebound because they either have the virus or are self-isolating out of fear due to being in a vulnerable group?
Rather than hopelessly speculate on 'what if' scenarios, I have a practical suggestion and plan for how HoL could come into its own and facilitate some real community spirit and solidarity. The aim being to keep an eye out for our neighbours, helping each other out. With the NHS almost at breaking point even before this came along, it becomes crucial that we do something at a community level now as we wont be able to rely on others to do it for us.
And it wouldn't take much effort...
If one, two or more residents on each street were to volunteer to fetch some shopping or medical supplies for a neighbour on their road once or twice a week, we would be making both a great individual and a wider social contribution to slowing the spread of the virus and reducing the strain on the NHS. If that same act gets replicated across the area in dozens, you can imagine over the days and weeks how this could mitigate the wider spread in a very small but nonetheless essential way. And foster plenty of community goodwill in the process.
If Hugh/HoL admin agreed, we could keep a pinned post of the street reps (HoL users) that could be contacted by DM here if someone goes into self isolation - or knows a neighbour that has. For various reasons it wouldn't be a good idea to publicly post which people or households are self-isolating, but street reps could keep each other updated and help across streets if need be.
Would anyone be interested in being involved as a street rep for shopping or other essential errands?
Constructive suggestions and improvements to the idea are definitely appreciated! - apathy and sarcasm won't be (there's a whole world of social media out there for that!)
UPDATED TO ADD (16.03.20)
Thanks to Hugh there is now a dedicated area on Harringay Online for the duration of the epidemic for local resources and contacts if you need help and to be visited to your door by a Street Rep
To volunteer as a Street rep text 07980 591375 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have WhatsApp follow this invite to join the Street reps organising group for the HoL area https://chat.whatsapp.com/LxCuIy1BcZvBMunk1JZBMy
Similar initiatives are springing up across London and Haringey. If you live beyond the immediate HoL area, you can give offers of help elsewhere in the borough here.
Happy to help around Chesterfield Gardens too
Yes I'd be happy to help out (Pemberton)
Hi Alice, if you want to text or email me your details I will add you to the list of volunteers. Thanks!
Hi Sheila, if you want to text or email me your details I will add you to the list of volunteers. Thanks!
This is a great idea. Put me down for Frobisher.
Thanks for thinking of this,
Just tell me what you need.
Would it be worth taking medical advice on how to run your scheme in the saftest possible way?
This idea was referenced on Question Time tonight. Some groups popping up in the midlands and Merseyside. Perhaps there are some models in place that could be copied noting Hugh's point.
That's a good idea. I just thought that advice might be needed so that good intentions don't end up endangering those being helped.
Sounds something like the Neighbourhood Champions scheme we tried to set up with Age Uk years back Hugh, remember that?
It was just a pilot but thought it had potential, it did actually recruit some champions. Getting to know those who are already socially isolated might be a problem but if people pooled their ideas and willingness to knock on doors this could be something that helps.
Many elderly including me do not access 'WhatsApp' or have smartphones etc.
However I think neighbourhood support will be essential in the coming weeks and I welcome initiatives to organise this.
Happy to help if I can, I’m on Rutland