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Here are just some of the many pandemic heroes who’ve made us proud in Liverpool.
Troops carrying out mass testing said they were humbled by the kindness and generosity shown to them when they were stationed at the Caribbean Centre in Toxteth. Local volunteers arrived at 5.30am each morning to make tea and toast, brought gazebos and delivered soup and hot meals to keep them going.
Lois Higgins from Gateacre, who celebrated her 11th birthday in lockdown, came up with a colourful way of supporting the NHS after seeing rainbow pictures in windows. She spent hours every day making rainbow loom band bracelets, raising well over £1,000 to buy PPE for Alder Hey.
After months without any live performances, theatre producer Bill Elms managed to stage a fantastic nine-day open air Liverpool Theatre Festival in September. Totally Covid safe, it brought together musical theatre, drama, comedy cabaret and children’s shows, and is now a finalist in 2020’s LCR Culture and Creativity Awards.
Sue and Adam Franklin, landlords of the Horse and Jockey in Melling, stepped in to help out vulnerable and elderly people struggling during lockdown. They turned the pub into a community hub, launching Melling Volunteers, cooking over 15,000 meals, and making and delivering 2,000 care packages to local people who were isolated.
When actual pubs closed, Paul McEvoy and his wife Laurie had the genius idea of starting a virtual one where everyone could get together at weekends, have a drink and watch live gigs via Facebook. The Virchy now has more than 80,000 regulars who’ve raised thousands for charities helping communities during the crisis.
It takes more than Covid to keep Johnny Bongo down – when fans couldn’t go to live dates, Bongo’s Bingo mayhem came to them! Johnny and the team gave everyone crazy nights in with Live From the Bungalow sessions online which had over 100,000 watching and raised loads of cash for NHS charities.
Even without fans heading to the match, Homebaked Anfield still played a big part in the community during lockdown. It baked bread for the foodbanks, gave people chance to donate a pie on its website to raise money for Fans Supporting Foodbanks and gave over its café to support local suppliers.
Famous faces like Jamie Carragher, boxer David Price and Johnny Vegas got their trainers and teamed up with local runners to collectively run 66 miles over 12 hours by doing laps around the Merseyside PPE Hub car park to raise vital funds for key workers’ PPE.
Nights out at Berry & Rye on Berry Street couldn’t be a thing, but that didn’t mean we couldn’t still drink their amazing cocktails. They started a delivery service during lockdown so nobody had to miss out – while we were stuck indoors the negronis and martinis kept on coming!
It’s been a huge year for Laura’s Little Bakery with special deliveries in support of our NHS heroes and the new Donate a Cake initiative. Back in March Laura baked thousands of NHS inspired cakes which were delivered throughout lockdown to volunteers, hospital staff and pandemic heroes across the city.
Normally the Culture Liverpool l team are responsible for the city’s biggest events. During lockdown they’ve been running the huge Liverpool City Council food and PPE distribution hub from M&S Bank Arena, supporting the city through the coronavirus lockdown. Watch above as we meet Angie Redhead from the team.
Makers based at DoES in the Tapestry District pooled their skills, 3D printers and laser cutters to make visors for healthcare workers and hospitals who faced a desperate shortage, especially in the early stages of the pandemic. They also managed to raise thousands of pounds to buy all the materials needed.
Fika on Woolton Road set itself up as a hub for donations, put together and delivered care packages to the elderly and others self-isolating in lockdown. Owner Anthony Grice has carried on helping through 2020 – Fika’s Mission Christmas Appeal collected hundreds of toys and gifts for L8’s mother and child refuge.
Liverpool costume makers who normally dress the stars of shows like Game of Thrones and Poldark used their skills to sew scrubs instead. Helping Dress Medics sent sets to Walton Hospital, Alder Hey, The Royal and Arrowe Park as well as Individual doctors and nurses, all stitched with rainbow ‘thank you’ labels.
With the clubs shut, DJ Lee Butler got on the decks in his man cave to bring lockdown raves into everyone’s houses live on Twitch. As well as getting us all on the living room dancefloor, he raised thousands for Liverpool Women’s neonatal unit and local cancer charities.
Each year The Big Help Project, which runs Knowsley Foodbank, supports 11,000 people with food donations. In the first five months of lockdown, 30,000 were depending on – and getting – its help. The faith-based organisation partnered with Knowsley Council to make sure foodbanks kept going while continuing its other support services.
When stocks were running out as coronavirus took hold, Karen Canty, 54, from Allerton, led an army of cutters and machinists to create scrubs, scrub hats and scrub bags for Aintree and Walton Neurological Trust, and then she rallied others to create hundreds more for hospitals throughout Merseyside.
After the Grand National was cancelled, Aintree Gin used stocks of ethanol needed for gin production to make antibacterial sanitiser spray. It donated it to frontline workers and created supply-lines to care homes, hospices, and emergency services, before selling it with profits going back into producing – and donating – more.
TV funnyman Johnny Vegas lent support to the Eccleston Arms Bar & Grill in St Helens which was turned into an ‘essential items store’ in the early lockdown days. Andrew Mikhail opened the doors to NHS and key workers, as well as the vulnerable and elderly, with a delivery service for those who couldn’t get in.
Jack Maddock from Waterloo was behind an ambitious online support scheme, SaveMyLocal.org, which allowed companies to set up an online page selling vouchers and gift cards to help stay afloat during lockdown. He said: “We can help customers to make sure their favourite places are there when they can go back.”
Netherton photographer Gemma Bashford, 34, helped families capture precious memories during lockdown – and created more positive ones for herself. Pregnant and frightened of going out, it gave Gemma a focus to safeguard her own mental health while ‘doing something nice for others that hopefully they’ll appreciate’. And she had another beautiful little girl, called Emily.
Everton in the Community launched the ‘Blue Family’ initiative which saw club staff joining them to support 2,500 vulnerable and socially-isolated people through welfare calls, emergency food and hygiene parcels, medical prescriptions, and gas and electricity vouchers. It helped North Liverpool Foodbank, funded children’s food vouchers and provided TVs and radios for those self-isolating.
Hosts of LFC Fan Bible, The Anfield Wrap issued a shout out to the club’s global fans after lockdown restrictions put city businesses and charities in trouble. They urged them to buy beers from a Liverpool brewery, gifts from an online store, or to make a donation to a charity or a foodbank.
Anxious to support local suppliers and vulnerable customers after COVID-19 hit, Lu Ban head chef Dave Critchley set up Liverpool Independent Delivered Services, an online shop and delivery service offering quality fresh produce from different local suppliers. It also enabled customers to pay it forward and gave a percentage of profits to Knowsley Kitchen.
Knowsley adapted its educational offering to launch a free Home School Safari hub for parents. As well as behind-the-scenes looks at the famous park, families could get downloadable worksheets, fun animal facts and talks covering topics like classification, food and feeding, animal care and exploring different species. A Q&A video series answered questions.
We’d clapped on our doorsteps for the NHS but Huge Media went one further by donating advertising space so Merseysiders could send good wishes and thanks for the amazing job they do. They toured city hospitals on Easter Sunday with a giant digital screen showing photos of hard-working medics and other NHS staff.
The Guide Liverpool’s very own Lindzi helped keep spirits up in lockdown, especially those looking after little ones. The Scouse actress launched ‘Wake and Shake’ on her Facebook wall with 15 minutes’ exercise and activity every weekday at 11am and, at 7pm, she helped get them off to sleep with Storytime. What a lifesaver!
Scouse Bird Steph Johnson stepped up to raise more than £14,000 for the NHS. The money, which was donated by her social media followers, went to Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s Support Our Staff appeal to help provide relaxation rooms for frontline staff, and essential items for workers who had to live away from their families.
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