‘How can I help?’: 10 ways to make a difference during the coronavirus outbreak

With Boris Johnson announcing a nationwide lockdown on Monday, the UK is now in an unprecedented era of social isolation.

While many may feel helpless to the invisible enemy, there is a lot we can do to support each other during these difficult times.



The government has issued a simple instruction: stay at home and follow social distancing guidelines. This is the main way people can help during the outbreak. By not spreading it, the virus will be much less likely reach vulnerable people.

This will only happen if everyone contributes and, indeed, the sooner everyone adheres to the rules, the sooner the lockdown will end.

The message is clear: stay at home. Don’t exercise in groups. Only go out to buy essential food and medicine, as infrequently as possible.

2. Don’t stockpile

With people concerned about having to stay inside for extended periods of time, some have decided to stockpile food, cleaning supplies and medicines. Unless you’re in a high-risk group (the government will have contacted you if you are) the message is clear: don’t.

Hoarding food that you don’t need might deny it from people who need it more – putting vulnerable people at risk.

If people only buy what they need, shops will have enough for everyone.

3. Support organisations on the frontline

Amid the chaos, key workers across different industries are delivering the crucial help needed to get us through the crisis.

To ensure they can continue to deliver at the point of demand, services like food banks, homeless and caring charities are encouraging people to donate to them.

The UN is also seeking donations to ensure refugees are included in national COVID-19 surveillance, preparedness and response activities.

Supporting these organisations ensure the most vulnerable are cared for will help ease the worst effects of the crisis.

4. Show your gratitude to frontline workers

NHS staff are working tirelessly to ensure people recover from coronavirus. Thank them, in person (while maintaining social distancing), and by signing this open letter.

Also make sure to tweet your support for the countless other frontline staff – delivery drivers, carers, supermarket workers – who are keeping the country running.

5. Support your local community

Thankfully, when a crisis hits, people spring up to organise effective responses to it. With coronavirus, this has been no different and a whole host of local aid groups have been established in days.

These groups are always looking for more people to join in their efforts and would welcome any support.

Similarly, as many have done already, make sure you (safely) check on vulnerable people near you or in your network to see if they need help.

6. Look after your physical and mental health

Being cooped up for weeks is not conducive to the best health. Thankfully, there are ways to mitigate against negative mental health.

Exercising, maintaining contact with friends online, taking time off social media, and avoiding reading too much about the crisis can help provide calm in an anxious time.

7. Support business

Many businesses have closed as lockdown has stopped footfall completely. With the livelihoods of small business owners and their staff at risk, it is important to support businesses by buying their products online or buying gift cards to use in the future.

Indeed, when this crisis comes to and end, everyone should celebrate in Fuller’s pubs – which have stopped commercial rents – and boycott Wetherspoons – which has not shown nearly the same amount of respect for their staff, or even the virus.

8. Call out coronavirus hate

Coronavirus has resulted in an outbreak of hate and racism with many people blaming China for the crisis. Indeed, some people have fallen victim to racist attacks.

It is important to call out these incidents so they don’t thrive. Sign here to stand up to coronavirus racism.

And if you see hate in person, this illustration describes four simple, safe steps to help you intervene.

9. Watch out for coronvirus fake news

There has been a lot of coronavirus fake news swimming about. In fact, we’ve exposed some of it, including false claims that there have been riots in London due to the pandemic, and that it was manipulated deliberately to spread among humans.

Stay informed so that other fake news doesn’t catch you out.

10. Campaign online

Don’t let the government ignore your voice; campaign with Scram and other groups mobilising online. From signing our petition calling for broadcasters to let experts do the talking on coronavirus, to our open letter to billionaires – encouraging them to keep paying their employees – there are many ways to get involved.

Share our articles and if there is anything else we should be campaigning or writing about, do let us know.

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