Ex-Coronation Street star Julie Hesmondhalgh has set up a campaign on Facebook that will see 500 people give one pound a week to help those in need.

The Doctor Who actress (pictured above) set up the ‘500 Acts of Kindness’ group on the social media site in November and has already had over 500 people register their interest for when the campaign kicks off in January.

Julie, 48, from Accrington said: “It’s such a brilliant and simple idea. 500 of us donate one pound a week by standing order, it gets paid into an account and then every week a small committee decide who that £500 goes to – an individual, a family or an organisation who might need it. So basically over the course of the year you give away over £26,000 to people who really, really need it and for less than the price of a coffee a week.”

Julie got the idea from fellow Broadchurch actor, Joe Simms, who set up a similar group ‘500 Reasons’ last year.

She was inspired to follow suit after neighbours had to choose between heating and food while awaiting Universal Credit.

She now wants to help people in similar situations.

James Harker, 30, a playwright living in Bolton, is one of the first people to sign up to the scheme.

Mr Harker said: “ I think Julie Hesmondhalgh is amazing for the work that she does and for setting up this scheme. I’m very happy to be a part of it at minimal cost to myself, but I think it’s an indictment of our society that we have to rely on brilliant individuals and acts of charity to support people who should be supported by the state.”

The money will be collected by standing order every Monday and members of the group will be able to nominate people in need.

A committee of three, including Julie, will then choose who receives the money.

If you or someone you know requires help you can contact the group directly via Facebook by searching ‘500 Acts of Kindness’.

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