NINETEEN groups have been set up in North and West Cumbria to help isolated people during the coronavirus pandemic.

They are part of more than 1,000 volunteer groups joining coronavirus Mutual Aid online groups to deliver goods to those unable to leave home in their areas.

Within days of the first Facebook page launching in south London, a UK-wide network of organisations has now formed - some of which have thousands of members already.

Users of the groups have described them as a vital boost with NHS services likely to be stretched in the coming weeks.

Though people in need of them are being urged to be wary of potential scammers, especially when handing over money.

Co-ordinator for the national Covid-19 Mutual Aid umbrella group Kelsey Mohamed, 28, said the response had been ‘overwhelming’.

“It shows us what’s possible when we prioritise simple compassion,” she said. “People are self-organising with incredible efficiency, respect and creativity.

“Tis isn’t a crisis like any that we have experienced in our lifetimes. Solidarity rather than charity is what’s required. It’s down to the basics now - food delivery, picking up prescriptions, and just checking in. This is a great leveller as everyone is affected and often the best answer to meeting immediate needs can be found very locally. We are already up and running in most major cities and over 1,500 Facebook groups have formed in the last week.

“Networks like Mutual Aid are going to change society for the long-term. It has been overwhelming and moving and it shows us what’s possible when we prioritise simple compassion.”

Groups include: Covid-19 Support Group (Allerdale Area), West Cumbria Covid-19 Mutual Aid, Carlisle Covid-19 Mutual Aid and Whitehaven COVID-19 support group.

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