Reverend Tina Sampson-Smith used her experience helping orphaned children and the elderly in Zimbabwe to start a similar network here in Sheffield.
Along with co-founder Jay Judge, they started a Facebook group, Nether Edge Help Network, and Whatsapp groups for each street, to connect people who could not leave their homes, or needed help during the coronavirus outbreak.
Rev Sampson-Smith said: “During my work in Zimbabwe, we used a template to help connect people which can run anywhere in the world.
“In this situation, we can help people in our area. There is a lot of fear – we have talked to elderly people and advised them to stay in, which we know is hard.
“We have lots of volunteers in each road, ho are ringing people who want a chat, or taking them supplies if they can’t get out.
“We fetched Calpol for a child who was ill, and their mother was ill as well. It’s little things to spread some kindness.”
Rev Sampson-Smith has advice for anyone who would like to help people in their area too – “leaflet your street, set up a Whatsapp group, make contact and keep in touch.
“If we do get locked down, people will need support, and it’s a scary time for many of us.
“None of us have trained for this, but hopefully we can all help each other.
She added that it was nice to see a sense of community return in the face of difficult times.
“We have lost lots of neighbourliness in recent years. People used to know their neighbours and we don’t so much now, so it’s good to see it return.
“It just shows how people pull together. People are feeling abandoned, especially as the government have not given any stable advice and we don’t know how best to help each other.
“We can do something, we can bring peace to those who are frightened. Even if we are isolating we can make a phone call.”