Community Coming Together over COVID-19
As worrying and stressful as current times may be, it has also been a time where we’ve seen some real community spirit and positivity. All across the North East and around the country there are initiatives organised to try and make things a bit better for our community, and to thank those working on the frontline for us all.
From feel-good messages from a Northumberland nursing home to neighbourhoods dancing in the street, people are finding ways to stay positive and keep on top of the most difficult of times. Here we’re looking specifically at some fantastic local campaigns, showing the best of the North East and us all coming together during this global catastrophe. We hope some of these initiatives may be of use to you and please let us know if there’s anything you’d like to share and add to our list!
North East Heroes Virtual Food Market
Food and Drink North East has created the Local Heroes Initiative, giving local producers the chance to sell their goods safely online. The new virtual market promotes high-quality locally produced North East food and ensures it is safely delivered to people around our region. Each Local Heroes order has an added “good cause” bonus. This comes in the form of a 10-15% “community premium” which sees free food boxes being provided for the most vulnerable in society as well as hard-hit NHS staff.
Grainger Market Deliveries
Newcastle’s Grainger Market is now offering deliveries around the local area, bringing together many of their regular stallholders and their goods. Business owners in the market have joined together to arrange deliveries of all kinds of great food and produce. The market proudly states on its website that it has been “trading since 1835 and has survived two world wars, fires, the Great Depression and countless other major events during its 185 year history.” They certainly aren’t going to let the current crisis stop them and orders can be placed on their website above, with everything from standard veg boxes and weekly essentials to luxurious treats from The French Oven Bakery available.
Many small businesses are at risk since the lockdown begun, as they can no longer trade safely or remain open. Tyne Collective is a website created to keep our small local businesses ticking along. It’s a one-stop shop where you can pick up a gift voucher for your favourite small business and look forward to the treat to come once lockdown is lifted. Not only are you helping a business in need, you’re giving yourself or a loved one something to treasure.
Once again with a focus on our North East small business community, this new website is a way of joining together the businesses and the local community. Think Small Online connects small businesses with the community and makes it easy to shop online with a wide range of different retailers from boutique toy shops to greengrocers and skincare specialists.
Popular Newcastle restaurant Harissa is using this time of uncertainty and closure to support the most vulnerable in society. The restaurant is run by a social entrepreneur who wants to provide at least 9,900 free meals to vulnerable local people in need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Their GoFundMe page has gained a lot of traction, as they move closer to their £5000 target and they plan to distribute their food around the Byker, Walker, Sandyford, Ouseburn and Heaton areas.
Sail Creative’s Endeavours
Newcastle creative agency Sail Creative are taking a revolutionary and highly original approach to the crisis. Their resources are both fascinating and highly useful. First, they have created a supportive map for the people of Newcastle during the pandemic. The map is a fantastic interactive resource which shows off some of the companies working to support us throughout the crisis. Their second resource appeals to the creative side of all of us. The Creative Waves project gives people the chance to submit and share their own creative works, ideas and similar relating to COVID-19 via their Instagram page.
Bay it Forward
Bay it Forward is a clever initiate created by designer and creative Sarah Jamieson, based in Whitley Bay. It’s another way of supporting local businesses during the pandemic. It’s a way of buying vouchers for local independents with a wide range of local companies offering vouchers through their website including Quay Aesthetics, The Canny Goat Coffee House and Smorgasbord Catering Company. It’s another way of supporting local businesses through this difficult time and it’s also a nice treat for yourself or a loved one to look forward to when businesses can trade again.
Give a Wave to the NHS with CBK’s
CBK’s are raising money to give NHS workers the chance to enjoy adventures across the North Sea waves with their wide range of adventurous activities. From kayaking to SUP adventures, CBK’s want to take NHS heroes out on the waves to enjoy the true exhilaration of this experience and of course, to say thank you. They’re running a successful Crowdfunder campaign and looking to raise £3000 to support their cause.
Buy a Pint for an NHS Worker
Newcastle’s Wylam Brewery have joined up with a wide range of pubs and bottle shops across the North East to offer up as many beers as possible for NHS workers. Every donation added to a tab at the Wylam or their partners will result in a drink for a heroic NHS worker. In their own words, theirs isn’t an industry that can provide PPE or other vital equipment, but they can show their appreciation in another way. The initiative has teamed up with other breweries across the UK, ensuring all NHS workers can eventually enjoy a relaxing pint or two.
Crystallised Culture Campaign
Crystallised are an innovative creative and communications agency who are utilising their unique skills in an insightful project. Their new research project looks at the importance of culture. The project “Does Culture Matter?” is asking as many people as possible to get involved. They are looking to put together a project which allows them to advise the arts sector about what matters to visitors, consumers and communities. It will also give real insight into the wellbeing of people during this crisis period and be a valuable resource as we move towards our new normal.
Save our SME
This national resource is providing a wealth of information and support for business owners impacting by the COVID-19 outbreak. From direct support to information about their rights and legal requirements during the pandemic.
Run 5k, Donate £5, Nominate 5 Friends
With an impressive target of £5 million nearly reached, this huge campaign has really taken hold all over the country. The premise is simple, you run 5k, you donate £5 and then you nominate 5 friends to do the same. It has been a huge success so far and all proceeds are going to NHS Charities Together. Not bad for a small campaign with an original target of just £5,000.
The #MyTravelPledge campaign is another way companies are looking to reward NHS workers for all their efforts. Travel companies have come together to offer free breaks to healthcare workers, and anyone can be nominated for their dream break. Travellers with have the chance to truly relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery in Spain, once the crisis is over.
These are just some examples of just how fantastic our community can be and how we can come together to support those who need it most. There are bound to be many more positive stories to come from this exceptionally difficult time and with strong communities we’ll be ready to tackle our new normal together.