SMALL towns and villages often have a tight-knit sense of community that comes into its own at times of crisis – but Covid-19 is not like anything that any of us have experienced.
If you are in quarantine with coronavirus or are vulnerable from age or health problems the people you normally rely on may not be able to come and see you.
Larger towns do not always have the micro-networks that help to maintain the social fabric of rural communities, but they tend to have large charities or volunteer organisations that can step in to help, although there will always be people who slip under the radar.
We have been researching some of the help that is available for people in the rural areas that we cover – Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire. In most parts of the region, churches of all denominations are providing a wide range of help; and in rural communities groups like the WI, farmers and others are looking out for their neighbours and the vulnerable.
Looking at the bigger picture, the community foundations of all three counties have coronavirus response funds (websites below), ready to provide emergency help to small local charities and community groups.
There are also a number of voluntary networks within communities or groups of villages, which offer help to people quarantined with the virus or with a family member who has it, or those who are in isolation for the duration because they are in the most vulnerable groups.
For us, bookshops are an essential service, but sadly not in this situation, so all our local bookshops are closed. Although the main book wholesaler has stopped delivering to shops because of Covid-19 restrictions, some independent bookshops may be able to deliver locally, perhaps by bike or on foot, if the book is in stock. Check out your local bookshop to see what is possible.
Visit the community foundation websites for more on the emergency funds: