Volunteers have joined together to support Salford residents through the coronavirus pandemic.
Step into Action, founded in Walkden & Little Hulton by Gemma Fish, teamed up with Neuro-Rehab nurse, Henry Hill, to help relieve the pressure the virus has put on the community.
The team has recruited around 30 volunteers “from all walks of life” and has helped over 70 people, who are unable to leave the house, by delivering daily papers, picking up prescriptions, shopping or simply having a chat and providing reassurance.
They have collected donations and delivered £65 worth of food to the Farnworth and Kearsley Foodbank and set up their own ‘just giving’ page for supplies for Bolton Hospital.
Step into Action has also offered support on a business front by collaborating with accountants and business advisers to offer free services to the self-employed, unemployed and recently furloughed to make the most of government packages.
They have helped over 100 people find new employment at local supermarkets, work at home jobs and explore delivery options for shop-based businesses that have had to close.
Additionally, the team has been helping out Bolton Hospital with toiletries and food that are hard to get at the supermarket for employees working unsociable hours, as well as much needed personal protective equipment for staff.
Gemma Fish explained why she started the group: “I was literally sat at home thinking ‘what the hell are we all going to do’
“I have lots of friends in Spain and I could see what they were going through and knew we were on the same path.
“I just had to do something to help my local community.
“I’m born and bred in Little Hulton and whilst the area can get a bad name, we have a fantastic community spirit!”
The system works by members of the community calling Gemma and she allocates volunteers to tasks accordingly.
A local printer has supplied them with 10,000 leaflets to promote their charity and spread the word in the community, around 7,000 of which have been delivered by hand.
She has been overwhelmed by the grateful response she has received as most callers have never had to ask for help in the past.
She says the group is equally as beneficial to her volunteers because “it’s helping them to keep focused as this isolation can be very bad for mental health too.”
The highest priority of the new charity is safety for all and they abide by three ‘golden rules’:
“No payment required for our help.
“We will never ask for money without first providing goods with receipts.
“We will never ask to enter your home.”
Here is the latest update from Gemma:
If you would like more information on Step into Action, check out their Facebook page or give them a call on 08000096605 if you could use their help.