'Love your neighbour as yourself'


Volunteers in Hampshire join together to ensure no one in the area goes without essentials through the coronavirus lockdown.

Trainee priest, Marianne Foster, has been coordinating a Facebook group, Mutual Aid Winchester, along with four others, helping vulnerable people in Hampshire during the coronavirus lockdown. 

A community forum for requesting and providing help to those in need, the Mutual Aid group was set up two months ago – and today, has more than 3,000 members all offering their help. 

The volunteers are delivering food, picking up prescriptions, posting letters, and offering a friendly voice at the end of the phone to help reduce the sense of isolation.

Marianne explains, “This is all about community members looking out for each other. We want to both help contain the spread of the virus and support those most at risk.”

The group is working with Hampshire County Council, Winchester City Council, Community First and Civil Parish Council who are referring people to them.  

Marianne works in safeguarding and is currently studying to be ordained as a priest. She has been using her expertise in safeguarding to help set up the networks needed to deliver help safely. 

The Right Reverend Debbie Sellin, Bishop of Southampton said: It fills me with joy to see how our communities are coming together to show love for our neighbours. 

“I am increasingly confident that, when we have got through the worst of this current crisis, our communities will emerge stronger than ever before.” 


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