Communities across west Cheshire are making a huge difference in their neighbourhoods and boosting wellbeing for themselves as well as others.
Cheshire West and Chester Council launched the Inspire Cheshire West website to celebrate and showcase how residents in the borough are playing their part to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of residents and organisations have been sharing their heart-warming stories of how they are helping others on the site, which is at: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/inspire-cheshirewest.
This includes the communities in Ashton Hayes and the surrounding villages who are supporting each other through a partnership of the parish council, community shop, church, the Older People Active Lives (OPAL) charity and Timebank charity.
Around 90 volunteers are helping 100 people with support of some kind, from shopping, dog walking and telephone chats to providing a weekly news and activity sheet.
Jane Colville, from the group, said: “The volunteers are undertaking all sorts of tasks and the degree of community spirit and feeling of togetherness that has been generated is very evident.
“People who didn’t know each other previously now do, and those who have no option but to stay at home find some comfort in the contact they have from local volunteers.”
Children are playing their part, with four-year-old Sebastian from Huntington launching Sebastian’s Kindness Bakery and making cakes for his neighbourhood to pick up for free every day.
In Ellesmere Port, six-year-old Cal, who would normally spend his spare time playing football with his friends, is instead helping to deliver food parcels to residents in need.
In Moulton, villagers mobilised quickly to set up social media groups covering each street so that people could stay in touch easily, as well as sourcing free food and delivering it to people in need. The landlady of the village pub made home made soup and sandwiches for people in the village who were self-isolating or experiencing difficulties because of Coronavirus and the village has now set up its own food hub.
Councillor Louise Gittins, Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “We launched Inspire Cheshire West to give people the opportunity to share some of the incredible positive stories of how communities are rallying to help each other and I have been overwhelmed by some of the examples posted there.
“I am so proud of how our borough is pulling together to help everyone get through this time and want to say thank you to everyone for their kindness.
“Kindness and giving are also key to improving wellbeing all round, which is essential during such an unprecedented and turbulent time.”
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week (18-24) and the Mental Health Foundation is focusing on the theme of ‘kindness.’
Kindness is contagious and can strengthen relationships and develop communities, while also helping to reduce stress and improve our emotional wellbeing.
Research suggests kindness creates a sense of belonging, boosts self-esteem and improves feelings of confidence and optimism.
To give is also one of the five ways to wellbeing set out by the charity Mind.
For inspiration, and to share your stories, visit: www.cheshirewestandchester.gov.uk/inspire-cheshirewest.