The power of community spirit is being harnessed through St Helens Borough Together.
The campaign is a way to bring together those who want to help people who are isolated or affected by Coronavirus to create a one-stop place where people can put themselves forward to help others as street champions. This initiative is a partnership between St Helens Council and a range of voluntary organisations brought together by Halton and St Helens Voluntary Community Action.
St Helens Council Leader Councillor David Baines said: “On a daily basis I am hearing amazing stories of selflessness throughout our communities. There are so many people who want to support those who are isolated or in need of help in these extraordinary times.
To make it easier for people to both register to volunteer and to ask for support, we’ve set up St Helens Borough Together. This will create a simple and clear way for people to get in touch, and will harness that sense of community spirit to build a network of support.
In every street across the borough we want people who can help with simple tasks like walking dogs, buying essentials or even just keeping in touch as someone to talk to and check that everything is okay.
Many people are already volunteering in their streets and communities, and I ask all those currently doing this to register by calling 01744 676767 so that we can get a full picture of what is happening in the borough and target support properly.
We will get through this current situation with kindness and compassion for each other. We will get through this together.”
Even if anyone has signed up for an alternative volunteer scheme, with the wide range of opportunities to help, no matter how big or small every bit of help is welcome.
Sally Yeoman, Chief Officer at Halton and St Helens Voluntary Community Action, said: “The local voluntary and community sector response as usual has been tremendous. Groups are mobilising to support local people through this crisis and we are extremely grateful for their support. There is so much good will in St Helens and together I am sure we get through this.”
St Helens North MP Conor McGinn added: “I know our community and people in St Helens Borough are resilient, patriotic and generous. The surge in volunteers coming forward to help, alongside the incredible efforts of local sports clubs, churches, businesses, the council and charities to look after the vulnerable is inspirational. Please continue to care of yourselves, your loved ones and your neighbours and we’ll get through this together.”
St Helens South MP Marie Rimmer CBE, said: “The next few weeks and months will be a challenge for all of us. But it is a challenge that we as a community can rise to, and one that we can get through together. The aim of street champions is to make sure that every single person in our community has access to what they need during this crisis, and volunteers will be vital to ensuring that this happens. Having lived in St Helens my entire life, I know that the people of our town look out for one another. I know that so many of you will volunteer to help look after those in need. I know that if we come together as a community we can get through this. Please do sign up in the proud St Helens spirit of looking after our own.”
Saints R.F.C captain James Roby is also backing the campaign. He said: “Our thoughts are out there with everybody at the minute, everybody is struggling and I can imagine individuals having a lot of anxiety within the local area. From a personal point of view, and as a club we are all in this together. As an integral part of the town we want to do all we can to help those within our local communities. The St Helens Borough Together campaign is an excellent way to assist those closest to us.”
To become a street champion register your details on the volunteer portal at www.volunteering.haltonsthelensvca.org.uk or call 01744 676767.
Postcards are available to download and introduce the street champion to their neighbours in their area, offering support. Street champions might also be contacted by the organisers with details of someone in need who has been in touch with them.
Street champions will be supported by St Helens Council’s Contact Cares team who can help if someone has concerns about a neighbour or does not know where to direct them.
Anyone in need of help can also contact 01744 676767 to find out more on what support is available.
You can also back the campaign by using the hashtag #sthelenstogether