With over 1.71 million confirmed cases, and a death toll nearing 60,000, the Covid-19 pandemic has swept the UK into a seemingly never-ending tide of despair. Social distancing, self-isolation and travel restrictions are only part of the current cost of living in the UK. The other part entails a much darker reality. With unemployment hitting a high of 10%, Rishi Sunak’s furlough scheme failing to make ends meet and an additional 700,000 being plunged under the poverty line, many across the UK will have empty pockets this Christmas.
Despite these trying times, humanity has consistently shown qualities of resilience, collective strength and innovation. From national campaigns like ‘Thank you NHS’ which highlighted the efforts of the 1.3 million key workers fighting on the Covid-19 frontline, to the global genius of pharmaceutical companies like Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca that have helped formulate vaccines in less than a year. The key factor in all of this is the focus on people and how collaborative efforts can help create a positive, but more importantly, powerful impact. In light of this, to help communities across the UK that are suffering as a consequence of the current Covid-19 pandemic, FURITY has curated a list of opportunities that can help you help others.
- Donate or volunteer at a food bank
According to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, an estimated five million people are predicted to fall into destitution by the end of 2020, defined as being unable to provide two out of the four essentials needed to live, including food, shelter, clothing and heating. Similarly, the Trussell Trust reports that over 2,600 food parcels were provided to kids every day in the first six months of the pandemic, highlighting the severity of food insecurity for some of the most vulnerable groups in society.
To help alleviate the impact of food poverty, donating and volunteering via your local supermarket or food bank can help add some Christmas spirit to those struggling to get through the festive season.
To find your local food bank, visit: https://www.trusselltrust.org/get-help/find-a-foodbank/
- Help someone feel less alone
The British Medical Association reports that “Covid-19 has the potential to significantly and negatively affect public mental health and the ability of mental health services to cope with demand.” With measures such as social distancing and travel restrictions, marginalised groups in society such as the elderly, disabled and those suffering mental health issues are particularly vulnerable at this time. Although some of us are fortunate enough to have someone to confide in, not all of us have the same privilege.
Reaching out to those outside your circle through virtual means via platforms like Befriending or Re-Engage can help make someone feel less alone this year. All you have to do is listen and it could be as simple as a phone call but it makes all the difference. You may even make some new friends.
3. Support local businesses
Figures from SimplyBusiness reveal that over 234,000 local businesses have stopped trading since the start of the pandemic, 1 in 5 think that they will not survive another lockdown and that the current Covid-19 pandemic could cost small businesses up to £69 billion in total. With the added pressure of national and multi-national competitors, helping local businesses stay open is important now more than ever before.
Although the most effective way of supporting local businesses is spending money with them, there are also other ways in which we can help them thrive. Examples include following their social media platforms, increasing their publicity through word of mouth and leaving positive reviews.
To discover the local businesses within your community visit: https://www.inyourarea.co.uk/localservices?branding=mirror
4. Donate to charity
According to research from consultancy firm, nfpSynergy, the proportion of people donating to charity across all age groups has significantly decreased, due to the impact of the current Covid-19 pandemic. This has meant that charities are receiving limited funding and resources, and consequently, they may fail to deliver planned objectives. To prevent this, FURITY encourages people to donate whatever they can so that those suffering locally, nationally and internationally feel supported. Donations may be money, clothing, food, toys and books.
It is also important to remember that part of the magic of charity is that you have complete autonomy over the cause you choose to donate to.
To find the perfect charity for you, visit: https://www.charitychoice.co.uk/charities
5. Use your voice
One of the most important and impactful ways of raising awareness about the socio-economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic involves using your voice to share information about how we can help each other during these extraordinary times. Whether it be through social media, telephone conversations, email or a good old-fashioned letter, we can all be a voice for those in need. Sharing information, reminding people to give to charity or tagging local businesses in social media posts are just some of the ways we can use our voices. By setting an example for our peers, we can establish networks of support that create a memorable impact.
Written by: Zahira Rafiq
Edited by: Zahira Rafiq