Many of our readers have gotten in touch with us asking how they can help their local community so we’ve created a COVID-19 Community Guide.
It includes how you can reach out to your community and help those in need. And because times are admittedly tough – whether you are old, young, a business owner, or a resident – please remember to take care of yourself as well. And you can find out how here, as well.
Stay strong Roman Roadies.
How to help others
1. Volunteer for a community action group
Local community groups are currently being organised to give out leaflets and provide other services. Events are moving very fast right now and local volunteers are doing an amazing job getting organised, but things are still in flux.
So please keep an eye on our website and social media feeds as more community drives and organisations surface that you can get involved in.
- Tower Hamlets Council – is setting up an action group to assist those severely impacted by Covid-19 and are looking for local volunteers. please go to: vcth.org.uk if you are interested.
- Covid-19 Tower Hamlets Community Support – A local, resident-run group organised on a street-by-street basis to send leaf-letters and provide assistance. Join their group here but please take care not to post any personal information on the Facebook page and join the appropriate WhatsApp group for your street.
- St. Paul’s Old Ford Church – The closing of schools present extra challenges for many families. St. Paul Old Ford church is handing out free school meals for those in our area and are looking for additional volunteers. They are also in touch with other community leaders who are likely to be organising additional events. Apply to be a volunteer here.
- FoodCycle Bow Road – FoodCycle Bow Road turns surplus food from partners into community meals and are looking for volunteers. Volunteers are to comply with government guidelines regarding Covid-19. This might change after Friday’s announcement by the government. Please go here for FoodCycle’s latest updates and contact details.
We’ll keep this page updated with more opportunities as they emerge. Do you know of any groups that should be included? Get in touch with us at email@example.com.
2. Reach out to those in need with a leaflet
You may have seen an image like this one being circulated around social media.
You can reach out to your neighbours who may need help by printing out or writing down a note with your name, contact details and what services you are able to provide: a friendly phone call, posting mail, picking up groceries or walking their dogs.Then simply slip them through the front doors (practicing good hand-hygiene, of course).
3. Donate to foodbanks
With foot traffic down, food banks need to ensure they have sufficient supplies. If you are able to get out and go for a walk (while carefully observing social distancing measures, of course) you can drop off some food at your local food banks below.
- Bow Foodbank – They are currently open for donations at Sundays between 1-2.30pm at St. Mary’s Church on Bow Road. These hours may change so please check Bow Foodbank’s website before visiting. If you would like to donate you can do so here.
- Hackney Foodbank – Hackney Foodbank are asking for volunteers and food donations. They are especially asking for tinned food items, jam and peanut butter. For more information, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And if you know any charity or community drives that you think should be included, please get in touch at email@example.com, or on any of our social media platforms. This list of local causes will continue to be updated.
4. Support your local businesses
Support our local businesses during these tough times by stopping by your independent shop for essentials. Alternatively, check if your favourite cafe or restaurant still delivers – although our food and drink businesses have closed to the public, some are still delivering.
Find out about discounts, new services and changes of opening hours being offered by local businesses in response to #WorkingFromHomeLife in our Roman Road LDN Twitter feed.
How to look after yourself
Times are tough right now. And the more vulnerable among us are largely stuck in our homes and may feel isolated. So it is important that we lean on each other, and yourself as well.
So while you’re inside, here are some ideas that you can incorporate into your daily routine to keep up your spirits.
1. Get moving at home
Many local yoga and fitness studios have had to suspend their classes. Luckily, they’re now working on (or are already) offering classes streamed straight into your living room.
- Move Studio are hosting daily virtual classes priced at £6 each. From Slow Flow to Full-Body workouts and everything in between, you can view their full timetable here.
- ànimo yoga are also offering online lessons. And they have a special online introduction offer – 14 days unlimited live stream classes for £25. Go to their website for schedule and more information.
This way you can get some exercise and support local businesses: a win-win situation.
2. Take up a hobby or learn new skills
Imagine opening the door to wistfully stare at the outside world while being largely confined to your house, and you find… a book! On your doorstep. What a lovely surprise.
- Hoxton Mini Press is an independant books retailer and publisher. They are currently offering 20% off all deliveries.
3. Safeguard your mental health
If you find yourself overwhelmed, why not slow down, sit down and simply…breathe. The London Buddhist Centre may have closed its doors, but they have free online meditation guides, and Youtube live-streaming sessions. Check out their timetable here.
Also check out the NHS’s guide on taking care of your mental wellbeing while you’re at home: there are quite a lot of useful tips you can practice on a day-to-day basis. After all, it’s about taking it one step at a time.
Activities like spending time in nature, and cooking are good for your mental health – and that’s a scientific fact. So warm yourself on gloomier days with chocolate chai or Sazzy and Fran’s vegan french toast recipe. All the flavours of Roman Road, without leaving your house.
If you are able to go out, take the scenic route during your essential trips and walk through one of many well-loved parks in our area, like Victoria Park, or Mile End Park (which sports bright daffodils this time of year). Or the hauntingly beautiful Mile End Cemetery Park.
If you do choose to visit a park, it is important to maintain government guidelines and follow distancing measures (standing six feet apart from others).
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you are particularly vulnerable during this time and need assistance, please reach out.
We are all part of the same community. It is more important to rely on our family and friends than ever. So if you need to, please call a loved one, or even the kind neighbour who has slipped you a leaf-letter offering assistance.
5. Keep yourself and others informed
The news is moving at breakneck speed, so it is important to rely on trusted, authoritative sources for information.
Sign up to the Tower Hamlets Council newsletter for Covid-19 updates on a local level.
Not sure where to go for help? Here is a list of helplines and useful links for businesses and community members.
And finally, go to our Covid-19 Help hub.
Can you help us?
As a not-for-profit media organisation using journalism to strengthen communities, we have not put our digital content behind a paywall or membership scheme as we think the benefits of an independent, local publication should be available to everyone living in our area.
If a fraction of the local 40,000 residents donated two pounds a month to Roman Road LDN it would be enough for our editorial team to serve the area full time and be beholden only to the community. A pound at a time, we believe we can get there.