16 March 2020

Social media campaigns go viral as users offer to help those in need amid coronavirus pandemic

Social media has been showing its kinder side in the light of the coronavirus pandemic, with campaigns such as #Howcanihelp seeing generous offers of help from users across the twittersphere.

The movement was initiated by Catherine Mayer, co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party, who posted on Twitter urging users to volunteer or ask for support using the hashtag #HowCanIHelp.

Since her post on Saturday, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook have exploded with offers of help, shopping and support from users worldwide.

Chelsea and England footballer Beth Mead offered her services saying: "If anyone knows of any elderly or those most vulnerable Surrey based that may need help with shopping or looking after pets message me and I’ll do all I can to help."

Manchester City's Aifoe Mannion was also quick to offer help saying: "Hi anyone out of town concerned about their elderly relatives accessing grocery stores for their food shop in the central Manchester area, DM me maybe I can help."

Other WSL players, including West Ham's Gilly Flaherty and Martha Thomas have joined in too.

Facebook users have also been getting in on the act.

Users have been setting up groups in their local areas where volunteers can post helpful information, offer their services, and ask for help.

In regard to the age demographic of those most at risk (70+), other systems have been set up to offer help, the most notable of these being a simple postcard system invented by Becky Wass from Falmouth in Cornwall. 

The print-at-home cards are posted through letterboxes (Becky Wass)

Volunteers have been slotting postcards through neighbours' letterboxes with their names, addresses, phone numbers and options as to how they can help.

As well as individuals taking action, organisations including Nextdoor UK have encouraged people to look our for their neighbours.

They posted advice to their website on how to help, how to receive help, and how we can all work together to reduce risks.

Age UK issued guidance regarding helping the elderly saying: “If you know an older person who is concerned about leaving the house because of Covid-19, make sure you stay in touch over the phone, see if they need any help shopping, and encourage them to stay active in the house.”

Luxury soap brand Lush have also been offering free hand washing in their shops, making sure sanitising services are not just available to paying customers, but to the homeless and anyone who may require them.

Lush stores are offering free hand washing (PA Images)

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