Coronavirus: Whittlesey chef and Peterborough store offer free deliveries, positive tests rise, cathedral cancels services, bank to open earlier for the elderly

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A Whittlesey chef and a store in Stanground are offering to deliver food to people unable to leave their homes due to the coronavirus.

Chris Newman from Homme Nouveau in Market Place, Whittlesey, said: “I would like to announce that I have decided that even though the future of our industry might soon be under extreme pressure, I would like to help the older generation of our town, my home town.

“I will be donating toilet rolls, tea bags, potatoes, onions and carrots to as many people over the age of 70 as possible.

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“I am working on the situation on how to measure it out fairly and I will announce more in the next few days with the aim of delivering to Whittlesey, Eastrea and Coates this coming Monday, March 23.

Chris Newman from Homme Nouveau in WhittleseyChris Newman from Homme Nouveau in Whittlesey
Chris Newman from Homme Nouveau in Whittlesey

“I will do this on my own time and my own cost using my own fuel and will not charge a penny. It will be first come first serve until the stock runs out. I will hand deliver it all personally so that I know the right people are getting the help.”

Chris’ offer came on the same day that the number of confirmed cases in Cambridgeshire rose to 12, the same number as neighbouring Northamptonshire.

No Peterborough resident has tested positive in the city, according to Public Health England.

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The Nisa Local store in Thistle Drive, Stanground, has also posted online: “In preparation for the Government’s proposed plans for self-isolation for individuals over the age of 70 in the upcoming weeks, Nisa Stanground would like to help anyone in a vulnerable group in the Stanground area only by providing a delivery service to homes requiring shopping.

“This will be free of charge, please speak to a member of staff and leave your details with us or call on 01733 564611.

“Thank you to the customers that have already offered to help. As a community we will help make sure vulnerable people are looked after in these difficult times.

“Please note as a business we would love to offer this service without a minimum spend but unfortunately in order for us to provide this service for free the spend must be over £15. Cash only.”

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The offers of help follow other Peterborough stores and community groups who are doing their bit to try and support the elderly and vulnerable during the pandemic.

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Moreover, Bishop of Peterborough The Rt Revd Donald Allister has announced that the Easter Eve confirmation and Maundy Thursday Chrism services have been cancelled.

He said: “It may at some stage be necessary to close Sunday services, but we are already seeing falling numbers, and that is likely to continue. We need to make sure that phone calls, emails, social media (and visits where appropriate) show people that they are still cared for and not forgotten.

“If at all possible, we need to ensure that they can access worship online or on TV (discussions are going on with the BBC about this). As a diocese we will be helping with this, so will the national church.”

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Meanwhile, Britain’s biggest building society is trialling new branch opening times during the coronavirus outbreak to help the elderly and vulnerable manage their money with a dedicated hour each morning.

From Wednesday, more than 100 Nationwide Building Society branches across the UK - including the one in Long Causeway in Peterborough - will open from 8am, instead of the usual 9am, to determine whether it is an effective way of providing support to people aged 70 and above and those with underlying health conditions at an uncertain time.

The new opening hours will run from Mondays to Fridays.

The arrangement aims to enable groups of people at highest risk from coronavirus to go about their day-to-day transactions with greater confidence and safety, Nationwide said.

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