The Spirit of Salford network has begun a new service called “Chat and Natter” which aims to bring people together during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The sessions were suggested by Salford resident Jo Harrison after she noticed posts in the network’s Facebook group from people who were feeling quite worried and isolated during lockdown.
She posted on the page suggesting some live chat sessions each day for people to just talk to each other.
She added: “It would be better than individuals just posting and hoping someone replies. Just a thought.”
The idea: an online event where a bunch of Salford residents are available to chat with each other.
“We’re hoping to do some form of Chat and Natter event every week,” says Charlotte Rowley, who is part of the Spirit of Salford volunteer network, which was set up by Salford councillors Sharmina August and Lewis Nelson and Salford CVS.
She said: “A lot of folks are feeling anxious and scared and we’re hoping we can provide a safe space to link them up and tackle some of the loneliness while being in lockdown.”
The event hopes to bring people together during this uncertain times.
Ms Rowley said: “I’ve started chatting with people I wouldn’t have come across in real life through it, and we’re all helping each other out.”
During the event people can talk about fun stuff and things that wouldn’t need a full post on the page.
Councillors are also on hand during the event to answer questions.
The first chat on the page was just a comment thread dedicated specifically to the chat.
However, after a good turnout and great discussion, Ms Rowley said: “We’ll probably try out some other formats going forward, but we are trying to keep it simple.”
The network is working on all sorts of initiatives including a hotline (0800 952 1000) and online services offering support. Services include; picking up medication, dropping off food, taking pets to the vets or anything residents could need assistance with. It’s currently unknown whether the event will take place every week so keep up with the Spirit of Salford Network page for more information!
More volunteers, such as students, are welcome but some may also find it helpful to join in the chat.
Ms Rowley said: “We’d really love it if Salford students joined in.
“If you’re staying in Salford then we’re here for you as well, especially as your families might be in other cities.”
The Spirit of Salford Network information including hotline, webform, Facebook group, volunteer registration, and fundraiser are all below.
Hotline: 0800 952 1000
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/spiritofsalfordnetwork
To register to volunteer: https://www.salfordcvs.co.uk/emergency-response-volunteer-registration-form
To donate to the fundraiser: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/salford4good