There is lots of information available online about the developing threat from the coronavirus, for example at NHS Inform, and the Council is providing updates on the impact on services such as schools, libraries and waste collections here. However, the recent advice that the Over-70’s and people with certain underlying health conditions should practise social distancing by staying in their homes is presenting some real, practical difficulties.
I am pleased to say there is an emerging, fantastic community response. People all over Edinburgh are offering to help one another and groups for volunteers and people in need have been setting up on Facebook. You can find a local group here.
Volunteer Edinburgh, the city’s volunteering organisation, is very keen to encourage this amazing active citizenship and good neighbourliness, while supporting people to undertake these activities in a positive and safe way. If you are thinking of volunteering in this way, there is lots of useful information and answers to FAQs at Volunteer Edinburgh.
Are you able to check on neighbours, especially anyone who may live alone (regardless of their age), anyone elderly or anyone that may be potentially vulnerable? If someone is self-isolating or unable to get out for whatever reason – can you help by doing practical yet vital tasks such as:
- Collecting a prescription or over the counter medications that may be needed.
- Doing some basic grocery shopping.
- If you are making a meal offer to make a portion for someone who may not be feeling able to cook for themselves.
- Take their bins out on bin day.
- Offering to exercise their dog if they have one and are not able to do this themselves.
Naturally, if someone is unwell or self-isolating precautions should be taken, but good common sense applies and you should always follow NHS Advice. Remember that offers of support and help can be made by phone, on a note with your contact details put through a letter box or on local neighbourhood online forums such as Nextdoor.