Look for the helpers: good news stories relating to COVID-19

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The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted businesses, charities and the lives of many around the world.

With many countries practising social distancing, we bring you a selection of good news stories that illustrate how we are all supporting our own communities in these unprecedented times.

Many of our readers will have taken part in the #clapforourcarers on 26 March. As US TV presenter Fred Rogers once said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” So we’re bringing you good news stories from across the globe that make the world that little bit less scary.

TK Maxx donates food to local communities

When TK Maxx announced that it was temporarily closing its stores, the chain told employees to take all the food off the shelves and donate it to local foodbanks. £5 million of stock was donated as a result.

Medical TV dramas donating personal protective equipment (PPE)

TV programmes around the world are donating personal protective equipment (PPE) to vital health services. These include Casualty and Holby City, which are donating equipment to the NHS, and Grey’s Anatomy and Station 19, which are donating supplies to US hospitals.

Volunteer sign-ups smash target in 24 hours

On 24 March, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced a new NHS volunteer programme to support vulnerable people and those self-isolating. He called for 250,000 volunteers to sign up; however, within 24 hours over half a million people had applied.

You too can sign up as a volunteer here

Read volunteer stories and find other ways to help

Volunteer cards

In addition to the NHS volunteer scheme, mutual aid groups are setting up across the UK. A print-at-home postcard designed by a woman in Cornwall is also being used by thousands of people to support neighbours who are self-isolating.

Arts Council England announces emergency grants

Arts Council England has created a £160m emergency fund to support the arts. £20m will be used to support creative practitioners (including musicians, writers, artists and dancers); £50m will be granted to organisations not already part of the national portfolio; and £90m will be given to organisations currently in the national portfolio. As well as helping creative businesses to survive the crisis, the grants are designed to help ‘buoy the public’ through art.

Restaurants donating food through FareShare

Recent closures within the restaurant industry have led Boughey Distribution to set up a scheme for their customers to redistribute surplus food to charities and community groups. The food is being shared via the food charity FareShare. To date, the scheme has helped rescue enough good quality food to create over 270,000 meals for vulnerable people.

NHS brides offered free wedding dresses

Bridal company Pronovias is offering frontline hospital-employed brides-to-be free wedding dresses. It launched the initiative in China earlier this year and is now looking to roll it out to other countries. Doctors, nurses, cleaners, café assistants and other workers will be eligible.

Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs provide free hotel rooms for NHS and health care staff

Former Manchester United footballers Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs are temporarily closing their hotels to the public, but allowing healthcare workers to use the rooms. It means NHS staff will be able to rest in a hotel room between shifts if they want to, rather than having to travel back to their homes. The pair also announced that employees’ jobs would be protected and no one would have to take unpaid leave.

Stores support NHS staff

Numerous other organisations have stepped up to support NHS staff and keyworkers. Supermarkets such as M&S and Sainsburys now have dedicated hours for NHS staff and emergency workers, and HP Taxi Company is offering free taxis for NHS Staff. Several food chains (including Pret a Manger) are offering free hot drinks, snacks or discounts.

Alcohol brands making hand sanitiser

Hand sanitiser has a high alcohol content. Several drinks brands have stepped forward to either donate alcohol or make their own hand sanitiser. Diageo (makers of the Smirnoff and other popular drinks) is donating up to two million litres of alcohol to manufacturers in eight countries. UK-brand BrewDog is making ‘Punk Sanitiser’, which it is donating to local hospitals.

Penguins get to explore

The Shedd Aquarium in Chicago is closed due to Coronavirus, which means keepers have been able to let penguins out of their enclosures to explore.

You can see photos of the penguins on Instagram

Dinosaur parade, social-distancing style

In Wisconsin, USA, one neighbourhood hosted a ‘dinosaur parade’, where members of the community dressed up as dinosaurs and paraded through the area, two metres apart. The organiser wanted to bring some joy to families and individuals who are self-isolating.

You can see photos here, and watch a video here.

Children send care home residents uplifting messages

Carers at Bilton Court care home in Wellingborough asked for letters and pictures to raise the morale of self-isolating residents. Prior to the school closures, pupils at Park Junior School stepped up to the call and sent a series of letters to residents.

Rainbows pop up across the UK

A suggestion on social media for children to put rainbows up in their windows has spread across the globe, with children in Italy, Spain, US and the UK, amongst other countries, taking part.

3D printing for respirators

Thousands of people have come together to create life-saving equipment through 3D printing. The ‘Coronavirus Makers’ have been connecting online to work on designing equipment that can be 3D printed quickly and cheaply.

Grants for young changemakers

Peace First has launched a rapid response grant programme for young people aged 13-25 anywhere in the world who are leading initiatives to address the effects of COVID-19 in their community. If you know a young person doing brilliant things, find out more here.

Martin Lewis donates more than £1 million to charities

Martin Lewis has launched an emergency fund for charities using more than £1 million of his own money and a call for other large donations. The pot currently stands at £3 million.

Find out more about other available grants and funding in our resource hub.

Cartoonist launches new series

Finally, cartoonist First Dog on the Moon has released a series of sketches about how pets are ‘helping’ people in isolation. Examples include a dog that sprained its tail by wagging it too much because its owners are home more, and a budgie that keeps attacking a computer mouse.

You can see examples of the cartoons here.

See also:

This page was last updated on 30 March 2020.

COVID 19 GN Rainbow Full

Children participating in the nationwide 'spot the rainbow'