"The power of communities at its best": Joint effort to protect Borough's vulnerable and elderly from impact of Coronavirus
An army of volunteers, businesses and community groups is being assembled in Stockton-on-Tees to make sure help reaches those who need it most during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Catalyst, the voice of the Borough's Voluntary Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, is creating a 'COVID Community Support Team' with support from the Council.
The team will spearhead a major push to go out into communities to help the vulnerable and the elderly.
Help will range from doing food shopping and picking up prescriptions to making sure people who are self-isolating, and may be worried or lonely, get the support they need.
Chair of Catalyst Stockton, Guru Naidoo, said: "We're facing a huge challenge in the weeks and months ahead - a lot of people are going to need our help and we must make sure they get it.
"Fortunately, we have an incredibly strong VCSE sector made up of hundreds of groups and organisations and we also have lots of offers of help from individuals and businesses. We're drawing on them all to get us through this.
"This is the power of communities at its best.
"In the coming days we'll be outlining in detail the kind of support we can provide and how people can go about accessing it. And if we need any more help we will put a call out to people explaining how they can get involved.
"The Council has already made it clear they're ready to give us any support we need and it's great to have them by our side."
Leader of Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, Councillor Bob Cook, added: "There's a tidal wave of goodwill out there and we have an army of volunteers, community groups and businesses chomping at the bit to assist.
"What Catalyst are doing is harnessing all of this goodwill and putting it to great use by coordinating a joint effort to make sure help reaches those people in our communities who need it most.
"Make no mistake, this is a big challenge but we are already seeing people uniting and rising to it. We will be supporting this every single step of the way."
For links to all the national Coronavirus advice, as well as details of any disruption to services, visit Our People.