Banburyshire woman offers ways others can help during coronavirus lockdown

A Banburyshire woman is one of a team of five who have set up a website offering numerous ways people can find ways to help others during the Covid-19 lockdown from their living rooms.

By Roseanne Edwards
Thursday, 14th May 2020, 11:50 am
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 11:52 am
Emily Hodson with her new website
Emily Hodson with her new website

Emily Hodson from South Newington - a former Warriner School pupil - said the What Can We Do? website is designed to be the go-to place for people to discover ways they can give support, from very active volunteering gestures down to signing petitions and keeping occupied while staying indoors.

"I am doing as much as I possibly can to support the UK through its COVID-19 crisis. Last week I walked a marathon in four days and raised £750 for Oxfordshire-based domestic violence charity Reducing the Risk of Domestic Abuse and for refugee charity Help Refugees," she said.

"I am part of a five-strong all-female team at What Can We Do? It was set up by my colleagues Florence Waller-Carr and Ümran Avni, who saw a hunger from their peers to make a difference together with an overwhelming amount of information flying around the internet."

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Emily Hodson after her walking marathon to raise money for charity

"What Can We Do? is designed as an online hub to help people navigate the plethora of ways people can do their bit right from their sofa. Last week we launched the COVID-19 Acts of Kindness challenge on social media - the #COVAKchallenge - to spread the love and kindness as far and wide as possible.

"The challenge encourages people to undertake an act of kindness for themselves or for someone else (while adhering to the government’s social distancing guidelines) such as making someone a cup of tea, delivering someone's shopping, sending someone a card, signing a petition or making a donation to a charity.

"People are then encouraged to share pictures of it on social media using #COVAKchallenge and nominate three or more friends to do the same. The #COVAKchallenge web page here has a number of different suggestions for people to browse," said Ms Hodson.

“Acts of kindness make people feel good and that is what we want to achieve in these challenging times,” said Florence Waller-Carr, co-founder What Can We Do?. “Everyone around the world has been impacted by this crisis in some way and we want to connect people through kindness. An act of kindness can be a very personal thing, and we want to challenge people to think about what they can do to make someone’s day and spread the love as far as possible.”

The What Can We Do? website, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts are dedicated to sharing the latest initiatives, petitions, emergency funds and at-home activities and entertainment to support people who want to help the UK’s COVID-19 relief efforts.

In more normal times Ms Hodson lives in Chongqing, China where she works remotely for the British Embassy in Beijing.

"I came back to the UK in February when the COVID-19 crisis was escalating over there and I will be going back as soon as its deemed safe to," she said.