CORONAVIRUS support groups have sprung up across South Oxfordshire to help over-70s and other vulnerable people in self-isolation.

Good Samaritans in Abingdon, Wantage, Didcot and Wallingford have set up mutual aid groups and are calling on residents to lend a hand with shopping and day-to-day jobs.

Residents have made ‘helping postcards’ to deliver to homes which have contact details and the ways volunteers can help during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that the government would be asking the most vulnerable people to self-isolate for up to 12 weeks, starting from the end of this week.

One community in Wallingford already has more than 400 volunteers.

Heidi Kennedy owns home-care company Countywide Caring and set up the Facebook group Wallingford2020 (Covid19 Volunteers).

She is gathering volunteers to help with shopping, collecting prescriptions, posting letters and making telephone calls to make sure people are okay – including checking on their mental health.

She said: "For some people it could be a lifeline if they don’t have anyone else. For some it is a phone number that will help take away some of the pressure from 111 and local surgeries.

"It will give people somewhere to go to ask for help which can hopefully alleviate anxiety."

Read also: Coronavirus: Oxfordshire businesses hit out at PM over 'avoid' guidance

The Wallingford community group is hoping to work with GP surgeries, shops and pharmacies.

Other community groups in South Oxfordshire are also working to gather volunteers through Facebook.

One resident on the Spotted: Didcot Facebook page posted: “In light of the government announcing next week that all over-70s need to self-isolate, which could be for up to four months, now is the time for everyone to help.”

The Great Western Park Residents Association is also offering to walk pets in Didcot and be there for a friendly phone call.

Residents on the Spotted: Steventon & Drayton Facebook page are also looking out for the vulnerable members of their community.

One person wrote: “If this lockdown for the elderly happens, do you think the village needs to organise something to help locals?

“Maybe even be allocated an elderly person to check on and assist with shopping? Or a pool of people that can help and a number for the isolated elderly to call if they need anything?”

The post was quickly responded to by dozens of people offering to help.

A new Abingdon Coronavirus Community Response Facebook page, meanwhile, is already set to step in and help those self-isolating.

Sarah Sez Anthony wrote on the page: “This is a group for community members who want to help our town get through the Coronavirus. We’re not an organisation, just people who want to help to the extent we can. Let’s get organised now, before more of us have to isolate, so that when the time comes everyone is looked after.”

Read also: Oxford's Ashmolean, Pitt Rivers Natural History and other museums SHUT over coronavirus

Charities are also preparing for those self-isolating.

The Ray Collins Charitable Trust in Wantage has launched a new campaign for to offer help to the elderly and vulnerable.

Calling for people to ‘stay calm, stay safe, stay home’, the trust is offering to lend a hand with its small army of volunteers.

The charity has teamed up with Wantage town council, the chamber of commerce and local churches to extend its volunteer base.

The volunteers are offering shopping deliveries, to pick up prescriptions and even tasks such as changing a light bulb and making a phone call to the lonely.

Charity chairman Ray Collins said: “The day centres are shut, and people are really going to feel isolated now.

"They can feel safe because they know me, and we are here to help. There will be no extra charges for deliveries.

"We’ve got such a good reputation in the town and people are already offering their support. There’s a lot of doom and gloom at the moment and we want to provide a friendly face."

Any who wants to ask for the charity's help can email

Read also: GP surgeries suspend face-to-face appointments due to coronavirus

Didcot-based charity SOFEA, which provides food to organisations feeding the vulnerable, has launched a fundraising webpage to help the continue feeding families in need.

The charity plans to distribute hundreds of tonnes of food to local communities.

Food boxes will be distributed through the community larder programme, which is a non-means-tested programme and which has a large percentage of members from low-income families.

The charity is calling for people to make donations to help keep its supply of food moving.

Donations can be made via

You can find a community help group in your area on the Covid-19 Mutual Aid UK site via