Good Samaritans in St Helens are being asked to sign up to become a “street champion” and help the most vulnerable from the coronavirus pandemic.
The ‘St Helens Borough Together’ campaign is a partnership between St Helens Council and a range of voluntary organisations brought together by Halton and St Helens Voluntary Community Action.
The initiative creates a one-stop shop where people can put themselves forward to become a volunteer to help people who are isolated or affected by the coronavirus.
Anyone in need of help can also get in touch to find out more about what support is available to them.
The campaign – which you can support on social media by using the hashtag #sthelenstogether – is being backed by Saints R.F.C captain James Roby.
“Our thoughts are out there with everybody at the minute, everybody is struggling, and I can imagine individuals having a lot of anxiety within the local area,” Roby said.
“From a personal point of view, and as a club we are all in this together. As an integral part of the town we want to do all we can to help those within our local communities.
“The St Helens Borough Together campaign is an excellent way to assist those closest to us.”
Sally Yeoman, Chief Officer at Halton and St Helens Voluntary Community Action, said the local voluntary and community sector response to the coronavirus crisis has been “tremendous”.
“Groups are mobilising to support local people through this crisis and we are extremely grateful for their support,” she said.
“There is so much good will in St Helens and together I am sure we get through this.”
Cllr David Baines, leader of St Helens Council, said: “On a daily basis I am hearing amazing stories of selflessness throughout our communities.
“There are so many people who want to support those who are isolated or in need of help in these extraordinary times.
“To make it easier for people to both register to volunteer and to ask for support, we’ve set up St Helens Borough Together.
“This will create a simple and clear way for people to get in touch and will harness that sense of community spirit to build a network of support.”
Those who sign up to become a street champion will be asked to carry out a range of everyday tasks for those most at risk from COVID-19.
It is intended that the initiative – through a single contact number – will bring together all of the fantastic work being carried out across St Helens over the last fortnight in the wake of the pandemic.
“In every street across the borough we want people who can help with simple tasks like walking dogs, buying essentials or even just keeping in touch as someone to talk to and check that everything is okay,” Cllr Baines said.
“Many people are already volunteering in their streets and communities, and I ask all those currently doing this to register by calling 01744 676767 so that we can get a full picture of what is happening in the borough and target support properly.
“We will get through this current situation with kindness and compassion for each other. We will get through this together.
“Even if anyone has signed up for an alternative volunteer scheme, with the wide range of opportunities to help, no matter how big or small every bit of help is welcome.”
St Helens North MP Conor McGinn said the surge in volunteers in the past few weeks has been “inspirational”.
It comes as the government launched a national drive for volunteers to help the NHS, with more than 500,000 signing up – double the initial recruitment target.
Mr McGinn said: “I know our community and people in St Helens borough are resilient, patriotic and generous.
“The surge in volunteers coming forward to help, alongside the incredible efforts of local sports clubs, churches, businesses, the council and charities to look after the vulnerable is inspirational.
“Please continue to care of yourselves, your loved ones and your neighbours and we’ll get through this together.”
Marie Rimmer, MP for St Helens South and Whiston, urged those who were in a position to volunteer to call 01744 676767 and sign up to St Helens borough Together.
“The next few weeks and months will be a challenge for all of us,” Ms Rimmer said.
“But it is a challenge that we as a community can rise to, and one that we can get through together.
“The aim of street champions is to make sure that every single person in our community has access to what they need during this crisis, and volunteers will be vital to ensuring that this happens.
“Having lived in St Helens my entire life, I know that the people of our town look out for one another. I know that so many of you will volunteer to help look after those in need.
“I know that if we come together as a community we can get through this. Please do sign up in the proud St Helens spirit of looking after our own.”
Once registered, street champions will be supported by St Helens Council’s Contact Cares team who can help if someone has concerns about a neighbour or does not know where to direct them.
Postcards are available to download and introduce the street champion to their neighbours in their area, offering support.
Street champions might also be contacted by the organisers with details of someone in need who has been in touch with them.
To become a street champion, register your details on the volunteer portal at www.volunteering.haltonsthelensvca.org.uk or by calling 01744 676767.
Anyone in need of help can also contact 01744 676767 to find out more on what support is available.