London: heart-warming initiatives amid the Coronavirus madness

Chubby-Hearts-London-Covent Garden

These are confusing, unsettling, scary times even. Now that the UK is in full lockdown yet, we are all advised to self-isolate to slow the spread of Coronavirus. Theatres, museums, restaurants, cafés, shops are closing. The first reaction is, of course, full panic mode (as empty supermarket shelves prove)… The second is to wonder how we can come together and support each other. Here are digital high fives to London heroes I have heard of. Here is what you can do to make a difference (and/or keep your sanity):

Crowdfund free meals to the elderly

Realising many elders and people with health issues are worried to go to the shops, the Made in Hackney cooking school is fundraising to switch their services from classes to a FREE food delivery service – taking food directly to their doorstep. They already have reached 36K but are aiming for 50K.  The more money they get, the more people they can feed. Lina Stores is following up and has created a donation page to provide free food for Londoners hardest hit by the current crisis.

Join a local support group

Many of us want to help those self-isolating or at risk. Don’t know where to start? Look for Covid 19 Aid Groups on Facebook,  like Hackney‘s, which bring together volunteers those needing support. The full list of London’s Coronavirus Mutual Aide Groups is here. You could even set up a WhatsApp group for your street or building or check the NextDoor app where people can post their requests.. Alternatively, the Mayor of London also has a page where you can register. Let’s get this networking rock and rolling!

Think of key workers

Just Park, an app allowing you to park in someone’s driveway for a reasonable fee, needs your help. Own a driveway or parking space near a hospital or healthcare facility? Get in touch and make your spare parking space available for free to NHS staff and patients during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Fully Charged, an independent e-bike retailer based in London Bridge, is lending e-bikes to NHS staff for three months free of charge to help them get to and from work safely. So do Buzzbike  and Santander Cycles.

For a sweeter touch still, head to the Crosstown website and fund a large box of doughnuts to these modern days heroes.

Chat with a bookshop keeper with a cheerful spirit

Tired of Netflix binging? Now is the time to go through those books you have been piling up longingly. Nothing in stock? Worry not: these London bookshops will sort you out. Drop them a line, an email, an Instagram DM and they will advise just the story you need to escape it all for a few hours. Most operate a neighbourhood bike delivery service or post to those further afield.

Help restaurants, pubs, cafés… to survive

Most now offer home deliveries (we have put a map together here), with even New Covent Garden putting together assortments of fruit and vegetables for those of you wanting to cook a feast yourself. There is more you can do: buy their merchandise (Ground coffee, funky tote bags, their recipe book…) or a gift voucher to keep them afloat for the time being. Even leaving them a review will make a difference.

Support the West End

London’s musical-loving Theatre Cafe, will launch a series of web concerts from Monday, March 23rd. Three times a day, in exchange for a small fee, you will be able to enjoy a 45-minute set from West End actors, streamed directly to you, wherever you are. Great entertainment and a fantastic way to keep artists going.

Share the space

Studio 338, one of the UK’s largest night will turn its venue into a giant warehouse in a bid to help the most vulnerable during the coronavirus outbreak. Hotels are following up to offer shelter to rough sleepers in the coming months. Let’s also applaud distilleries like Haggerston-based distillery 58 Gin has temporarily switched its production to much-needed hand sanitiser.

Stay fit

Wondering how you will keep sane without your favourite yoga class, now that all sports places are closed? A number of gyms and instructors are offering their workouts via Livestream. Most of them are included limited-time free trials with a subscription that you can cancel later. Here is a list to get you started.

Know of any other? Send me an email: [email protected] 🙂




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