Churches all over the country are broadcasting services online and the BBC has announced it is launching a virtual church service on Sundays, on TV and local radio. Every local BBC radio station will also join up with volunteer groups in their area to help coordinate support for those in isolation, making sure people know what help is available. Sport England is helping everyone stay active at home, sharing the best online videos with the hashtag #StayInWorkOut.
There is much more to do and every single one of us has an invaluable part to play. You all have unique skills and knowledge that will be essential to our nation’s efforts to help each other through this crisis.
Many charities – such as FareShare and the British Red Cross – are already organising to support those affected by coronavirus. As Government, we are working closely with experts in the civil society sector on how to galvanise volunteers and coordinate help across the country.
Last week, The National Emergencies Trust, with support from the Duke of Cambridge, set up following the Grenfell Tower and Manchester Arena tragedies to coordinate disaster fundraising responses, launched an appeal to help channel the amazing outpouring of generosity we are seeing from the British people. The fund will provide a single collection point for public donations before distributing them as quickly as possible, ensuring help reaches those most in need.
While this period of self-isolation and social distancing is a new challenge for us all, feelings of loneliness are not. Over the last two years, the Government has been leading the way on tackling this issue, having introduced the first Minister for Loneliness. Together with an array of charities and organisations we have worked hard to shift the way we see and act on this problem. We published our first loneliness strategy, which outlined almost 60 commitments across nine departments. This followed the first ever Government fund dedicated to reducing loneliness, which has supported 126 projects to transform the lives of thousands of lonely people across England.