Help your neighbour
Community support page on Facebook
'Help Your Neighbour' is a community support page on Facebook that was set up on March 15 2020 to make it easier for residents to get help and give support during the Coronavirus crisis.
KC Dow, the originator of the idea, says: “I initially thought that if we all could just help each other we’d be sharing the load. If anyone knows there’s an old or vulnerable person on their street, or someone who might be struggling, between us all we can do a regular knock on the door and help them out.”
The idea evolved from a support group just for Brinnington, to become much bigger, taking in other parts of Stockport and even Macclesfield and parts of Manchester. KC continues:
“At first I thought of it as Help Your Neighbour Brinnington but it quickly went bigger than that. I didn’t for one second think it was going to go as big as it is and as crazy as it has done!”
KC, a local business owner set up the group and shared it with her contacts and friends, who shared it with theirs. The group hit 1,000 members on the first day, 10,000 by the end of the 2nd week and currently has over 18,000.
KC Dow, Help Your Neighbour founder
I initially thought that if we all could just help each other we’d be sharing the load. If anyone knows there’s an old or vulnerable person on their street, or someone who might be struggling, between us all we can do a regular knock on the door and help them out.
“After I first posted about helping to feed and support our elderly, vulnerable, isolated and low income families, people started sending donations. We couldn’t have done it without those donations so I’m really grateful.” The group’s moderators use the donations to make up 'care packs’ that go out to people that are vulnerable, elderly or who’ve got no money.
People make contact through Facebook but mostly they are requesting them for others rather than themselves.
“They might say, my neighbour over the road, he’s got no family, he lives on his own, I’m really worried about him, and they give us his contact details. I’ve just spoken to somebody now. Somebody passed me his number, so I rang him, and he’s got no money, no food, so I’ve just sent him a care pack. I could hear it in his voice, how happy he was, now that he knew that some food was on the way. Every day people tell me how grateful they are.”
The moderators take turns in making up the packs and taking them out. As well as the funds required to buy the supplies, there’s a lot of volunteer time queuing and shopping for the care packs, and cooking and making up the packs back home. Others collect the packs and deliver them to the recipients, collecting them from 1 doorstop and leaving them on another. “There are a lot of individuals helping for each pack – it's great that everyone’s coming together.” Over 150 care packs have been sent out already.
“We ran entirely on donations at first. Then I heard about Stockport Local Fund: Community Support. Two people shared the website link with me in the Facebook inbox. It was easy to apply for and the council have been amazing with me and I can’t thank them enough. It’s not just the grant (£1000), everyone that I’ve spoken to has been absolutely brilliant.”
“Elaine O’Reilly, Stockport Council, messaged me on Facebook. She’s been amazing, really supportive with me and the group. This is all so new to me. I’ve never done anything like this. I was a printer not a food supplier! There’s a lot that I’m still learning myself and she’s offered advice and support.”
The Stockport Local Fund money will go on care packs as well as on shopping vouchers, because there are people who are struggling from a lack of money, but who can still go out to buy their own shopping. By issuing shopping vouchers where appropriate, more people can be helped overall.
KC has been living in a whirlwind for the past month, balancing her new role with her ongoing business commitments. But she insists that this is a community effort, made possible only by the generosity of the local communities, the donations of time and money and the combined efforts of lots of individuals. “It's a bit crazy but it’s just great that everyone’s coming together!”