How you can support the vulnerable people in your community during the coronavirus crisis

A new drive has launched to recruit volunteers to help vulnerable people through the coronavirus outbreak.

The East Durham Trust, which runs services for vulnerable people, is recruiting additional volunteers for its emergency response.

The charity has joined forces with Durham County Council and the Durham Miners’ Association to recruit volunteers to assist people in their own homes or other care facilities which will struggle to cope.

The former coal mining area of East Durham has some of the most vulnerable older people in the UK and some of the worst levels of ill health and poverty in Europe.

Durham Miners' Association's base at Redhills.

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Trust managing director Malcolm Fallow said: “We have to act quickly to get people and supplies in place. The aim is to support the emergency response with community mobilisation on a scale we have rarely seen.

“Fortunately we have structures in place to deliver that support and we still have the strong sense of community to make it happen.

“In the coming weeks and months it will be essential that we support the most vulnerable and isolated in the best way we can.

“We will do this by ensuring the good communications and co-ordination experience we have through running food banks and other initiatives is used to best effect.”

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Durham Miners Association President Alan Mardghum.

“As a first step we are looking to add to our army of volunteers and anyone who is interested should get in touch.

“This is an unprecedented situation and we don’t know exactly what the service will look like but we need to be up and ready to respond”.

Miners’ Association secretary Alan Mardghum added: “The response to our call has been swift and most welcome.

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“Many of our members are scared and worried about what the immediate future might bring. Many are suffering from ill-health due working in the pits. Many are not well off.

Malcolm Fallow of East Durham Trust.

“The DMA has a long tradition of supporting our communities and we feel we should do everything we can to help now.

“We will be asking for volunteers to support the EDT action and appealing to our people throughout the county to do as much as they can.”

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To volunteer, call the Trust on 0191 569 3511.