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Coronavirus: Royal Docks neighbours form support group in preparation for peak

PUBLISHED: 12:00 17 March 2020

A file image of someone self-isolating due to coronavirus. Picture: PA

A file image of someone self-isolating due to coronavirus. Picture: PA

PA Wire/PA Images

Neighbours have set up a coronavirus support group in case anyone who has to self-isolate needs help.

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To date 27 people who live in Waterside Park, Thames Road, Royal Docks, have signed up to help people in need of shopping, medication or essential errands.

Daniell Hambrook, speaking for the volunteers, said: “London can be an incredibly isolating place. There’s nothing worse than feeling you’re alone and no one cares.”

Neighbours set up the Waterside Covid-19 Support Group on Friday, March 13, and its volunteers are putting postcards through every letterbox to make people aware help is there. A similar group has been set up to cover Britannia Village.

The Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK network has also been established with more than 300 groups across the country registering with them to share resources and support.

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Group members anticipate a range of requests for help including being asked to leave a hot meal on the doorstep ready for collection or to have a chat by phone with a self-isolating neighbour.

Anyone feeling their mental health is seriously affected will be referred to Newham’s 24-hour crisis line on 020 7771 5888.

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The group’s work contrasts with media reports of people raiding supermarket shelves, stockpiling food, toiletries and household goods.

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Daniell, 47, said: “There are lots of people in the community who are not just grabbing things for themselves.

“We don’t yet know what people’s needs will be. We can’t guarantee anything and I don’t know how far our help will go. But there are lots of people who want to do something to help others.”

Already, one couple at Waterside Park – where there are 783 homes – has thanked the group, saying they might need the help because they are now self-isolating for medical reasons.

“Hopefully, nobody will need us, but it’s better to be prepared,” Daniell said.

To find your nearest group visit the Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK website at covidmutualaid.org/get-involved/

Anna Vickerstaff, one of the co-ordinators of the national network, said: “No matter what we look like, where we live, or how much money we have, getting sick reminds us that at our core we’re all just human.

“In every country it’s the old, the sick and those already struggling who will be affected worse. We want to make sure no one is being left to face this crisis alone.”

As of March 16, there were 1,543 cases of coronavirus in the UK with three in Newham. There have been 55 deaths nationally.


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