Neighbours rally round to help in coronavirus emergency

As supermarkets decide to ration some products in their stores after panic-buying over the weekend, and the first Croydon school announces a partial closure, meanwhile hundreds of good neighbours have been mobilising to help others through the pandemic crisis, as PEARL LEE reports

Residents from across Croydon spent time over the weekend organising neighbourhood help groups to try to tackle some of the impact of the coronavirus emergency, as increasing numbers opt to “self-isolate” to try to avoid the risk of infection or of spreading the virus.

Heeding, perhaps, the rallying call of MP Sarah Jones, who called on people “to prepare, not to panic”, Covid-19 mutual aid groups have been created, using Facebook and other social media platforms, in Norwood Junction, New Addington and across Addiscombe, as well as elsewhere.

Activists in the Croydon Momentum group even established an online spreadsheet to log the contact details for every Covid-19 Facebook and Whatsapp assistance group, which can be found by clicking here.

As one new Facebook group announced: “This group is to help facilitate people in Norwood Junction to assist and support our neighbours through this uncertain time.

“If you’re worried about leaving the house or need some support, we are happy to help! We can pick up prescriptions or supplies and leave them at your door. We can chat on the phone or via text if you’re feeling isolated.”

Coombe Wood School: opted for partial closure after teaching staff opted to self-isolate

The South Norwood Community Kitchen, which serves free meals every Saturday, has announced it is going to continue to operate as usual, though if it is decided necessary to avoid a gathering of people, “we will move to takeaways for our guests”.

St Helier Hospital in Sutton overnight announced the second person to die at the hospital after contracting coronavirus. The person who died was in their 80s, and already had underlying medical conditions.

Most schools remain open, though Coombe Wood last night decided on a partial closure because several staff at the new-build secondary in south Croydon had decided to self-isolate because they had exhibited symptoms of a cold or cough.

Several community groups have opted to cancel or postpone planned events, including the Croydon Bach Choir’s 70th anniversary concert planned for the end of this month, the Croydon Camera Club’s Wratten Lecture this week, the St Peter’s Church book sale in South Croydon and the Sanderstead Horticultural Society’s Spring Show.

Even so, non-league football and club rugby matches went ahead at the weekend, while at arts centre the Fairfield Halls, they say they are monitoring the situation and following advice from Public Health England and the local council, but for now the show will go on… with a run of a new play, The Croft, starring Gwen Taylor and due to begin in the Ashcroft Theatre tonight.

Panic-buying has left some supermarket shelves empty

With some less-pleasant scenes at large supermarkets over the weekend, as some people decided to stockpile groceries, businesses have stepped in and decided to ration certain kinds of products.

Mike Coupe, the chief executive of Sainsbury’s, issued a message to customers and staff this morning in which he stated that store managers have been told to set limits on some cleaning products, soap and pain killers, such as paracetamol. “This is a precautionary measure – if everyone shops normally, there will be enough for everyone,” Coupe wrote.

“I wanted to personally reassure you that we have more food and other essential items coming to us from manufacturers and into our warehouses and distribution centres. If we all shop just for the food that we and our families need, there will be enough for everyone.

“There are gaps on shelves because of increased demand, but we have new stock arriving regularly and we’re doing our best to keep shelves stocked. Our store colleagues are working tirelessly and doing the best job they can.

“Which brings me onto a request. Please think before you buy and only buy what you and your family need. If we all do this then we can make sure we have enough for everyone. And please help elderly and vulnerable friends, family and neighbours with their shopping if you can.”

About insidecroydon

News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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