Coronavirus: 'Community spirit will last once life is back to normal'

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Resident Chloe who set up a food bank donation point for her birthdayImage source, Charlotte Marsland
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Young resident, Chloe, asked neighbours for food bank donations on her birthday

Volunteers supporting vulnerable people during the coronavirus lockdown say the community spirit and support will continue when life returns to normal.

Charlotte Marsland set up a community group in Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, on 16 March.

A month later, she says dozens of volunteers have come forward to support hundreds of families in the area.

The group delivers food and prescriptions as well as providing dog walking services and telephone buddies.

Image source, Charlotte Marsland
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Ms Marsland was inspired to help the community by her granddad, Terry Murphy, who died on 31 March

Ms Marsland, a trainee train driver, has been stood down from work and was inspired to dedicate herself to helping others by her grandfather, who has since died.

"My granddad was ringing me every day telling me how worried he was," she said, which made her want to help people in a similar situation.

The town was affected by severe flooding in February, "so I knew a lot of people that may need extra support at the moment," she said.

Image source, Charlotte Marsland
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Ms Marsland donated Easter chocolates for families struggling during the lockdown

The group has grown to almost 1,500 members on Facebook and Ms Marsland said 300 families were fed on Easter Sunday by volunteers.

She alone visits up to 20 isolating families a day with essential supplies.

One is mum-of-four Sadie Williams, who receives milk deliveries from Ms Marsland every day. She said the pair had become friends through the scheme.

Image source, Charlotte Marsland
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The group does shopping for families but also collects food donations from supermarkets

"There's a real sense of community coming forward right now," Ms Marsland said. "People are saying they need support and people are saying back 'I can help you'."

The response to coronavirus has irreversibly changed something in the area, she believes.

"Once everything's back to normal we'll still be checking in on the elderly and vulnerable," she said.

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