Last week, I had the absolute privilege of lending a hand at the Botley Community Fridge’s coronavirus operation in Seacourt Hall — they’re working hard to get food to the vulnerable and the self-isolating. And don’t worry, we all practised social distancing!

Our community is absolutely full of grassroots groups who have stepped in to help during this crisis, and I am in no doubt that they’re all making a massive difference.

It’s so important that we take the time to celebrate everything that’s happening locally in the face of this pandemic. On Monday, the Oxford Food Bank reopened, and I’d like to wish all their volunteers, staff and the charities they support the very best.

With reports of thousands of families going hungry over Easter, I just don’t know what we’d do without these incredibly generous people who give up their time to help those less fortunate.

Coronavirus is devastating, but it has brought out the very best in our community. Delivering some of the Botley Community Fridge packages to self-isolating constituents last week, I was struck by how important that human connection is to people. Sometimes a smile and a quick chat is as important for people’s wellbeing as the teabags and essentials they get in their food packages. Loneliness is a real problem for so many at the moment.

There are so many heroic people and groups in our community that I couldn’t list them all here if I tried, but I’d like to thank people like Mary, Colin and Sarah at Yarnton Community Hub, who have been helping with moral support as well as food and pharmacy deliveries.

And then there’s the staff at our corner shops and supermarkets, working flat-out to keep food on the shelves for our key workers and others.

Honestly, the list goes on. It’s really important to pause and reflect on the scale of what’s happening, even in your own postcode, to keep people safe, and to keep the country moving.

But look — we’re incredibly lucky here. Not everywhere in the country has the same level of local, volunteer support. And when I was speaking to the the volunteers in Botley last week, they told me how worried they were about the people who haven’t heard about these volunteer groups and don’t know who to speak to.

And that’s why I’d also like to thank everyone who works in our councils. They’re doing an amazing job reaching out to those who are isolated and don’t know where to turn. We need to make sure they’re supported with the funding they need to deliver during and, crucially, after coronavirus.

So, I hope you’ll join me in saying a big ‘thank you’ to everyone working in our area to help those in need. You are all superstars.

If you’re in need of support or help, or would like to volunteer, you can find out more at: