Community kindness in coronavirus lockdown - the tonic for our mental health

  • Video report by Bob Cruwys

When the Covid-19 pandemic forced us into lockdown, communities responded with kindness.

Deliveries of shopping and medical prescriptions, organised by groups of volunteers or charities, have become a vital local service over the past few months, particularly for the more vulnerable people in our neighbourhoods.

Shopping deliveries are a vital service. Credit: ITV West Country

The pandemic has changed our thinking. What's really important is looking out for one another and these guys just do it brilliantly. I'm proud of them and I'm so grateful because I have food to eat and the medication that I need and it's all down to them.

Yvonne Taylor, Exeter resident

What people might not have predicted is how beneficial these community kindness initiatives have been to the mental health of those in need, as well as the volunteers themselves.

A short conversation, at a safe distance, on the doorstep or over the garden gate can be enough to brighten someone's day.

Ben Tucker, Minister, Seaton Baptist Church. Credit: ITV West Country

There is that inherent kindness that we want to show people. It's good for our mental health, it's good for other people's mental health and together we can actually lift towns and villages and cities together.

Ben Tucker, Baptist Church Minister

The mental wellbeing benefit may not have been the original purpose when volunteers signed up to help their neighbours.

In a way it is been a side effect, but it is something communities might well try to hang on to as part of our 'new normal'.

Volunteers at RE4orm Torbay packing up meals for distribution. Credit: ITV West Country

In Torbay, some of the most vulnerable families are getting help from a new Community Interest Company called RE4orm.

They deliver freshly prepared meals, donated by local restaurants, to those who don't necessarily have the skills or the means to make healthy food from scratch themselves.

It doesn't matter what your background is, it doesn't matter how much money you've got in the bank account, all people care about is helping their neighbour and the kindness and the love and generosity that is shown every single day blows me away.

Katie Cavanna, RE4orm Torbay