The good deeds making coping with coronavirus pandemic a little easier

The coronavirus pandemic is putting massive pressure on retailers and businesses across the UK.

More and more people are expected to follow Government advice and stay at home, if they can, to minimise contact with others.

Everyone is, in some way, likely to need some form of help to cope with these extraordinary times.

Support for the elderly has already been a big focus for the public, with one woman in Cornwall creating sharable cards offering neighbourly help for those who need it.

But it’s not just limited to good Samaritans among the general public – many shops and groups are doing what they can to alleviate the pressure for millions who may need help.

Here's what a handful are doing to make life a little easier.

Open spaces free for all

People out walking at National Trust Brimham Rocks, North Yorkshire, as coronavirus continues to affect the UK. Credit: PA

Many will now, rightly, avoid taking public transport, mass gatherings, and begin working from home or self-isolating.

While Government advice encourages staying at home when possible, it does also allow for exercise outside the house.

That is now an option made more realistic for some thanks to the National Trust, who have announced access to its open spaces won’t cost a penny.

The charity said it will keep many of its gardens and parklands open free-of-charge to encourage people to enjoy open space during the period of social distancing.

Hilary McGrady, the charity's director general, said: “Over the coming weeks we will do all that we can to keep on providing public benefit through caring for places and giving people access wherever possible.

“While we will close our indoor areas to help fight the spread of coronavirus, we recognise that people are likely to need access to open space.”

Supporting the NHS

Pret A Manger has made an offer for NHS workers. Credit: PA

While many are being asked to stay home to minimise pressure on the NHS, health workers are still heading out.

At an extremely busy time for the NHS, help is needed in any way it can be given.

Pret A Manger is therefore offering free hot drinks to all NHS workers and 50% off everything else.

The retailer tweeted: “Thank you for everything you are doing. We look forward to serving you.

“With love, Everyone at Pret.”

Chelsea Football Club has also stepped up to make life a little easier for NHS staff by offering free accommodation at its hotel.

“Many of the medical staff will be working long shifts and may not be able to travel home or would otherwise have to make long commutes,” the club said in a statement.

“Local accommodation helps maintain the health and well-being of these crucial personnel at this critical time.”

The club will cover the cost at Millennium Hotel for the next two months – which could be extended when the times comes.

Football assists

The Premier League is not the only division in the UK with clubs contributing in a time of need.

Northern League Division Two side Heaton Stannington, based in Newcastle, are working with The People’s Kitchen in Newcastle to donate spare food, usually consumed on game days, to those who need it.

The club tweeted: “Due to yesterday’s suspended game we had food which was no longer required.

“This morning we were happy to deliver it to the good people at The People’s Kitchen in Toon, who do a fantastic job helping those less fortunate. Be kind and help others where you can.”

Stevenage chairman Phil Wallace will mobilise players and club staff to deliver meals to the elderly.

The club also also plans to use their club kitchen to aid with cooking them.

York City meanwhile donated food to Changing Lives York, saying in a statement: “The food which was prepared for today’s game against Altrincham has been donated to Changing Lives York.

“The local charity works with and houses ex-rough sleepers - most of whom have complex issues connected with drug and alcohol misuse and mental ill-health.”

Priority for older people

Older shoppers enter the branch of Iceland at the Kennedy Centre, Belfast. Credit: PA

On the subject of food, supermarkets have offered dedicated shopping sessions to older people.

As reports come in of people panic-buying, Iceland and Lidl have opened doors for older people first before letting everyone else in.

From Thursday, the first hour of trading in all Sainsbury’s is reserved for elderly and vulnerable shoppers.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know