Why Sheffield woman Nicole is the kind of neighbour we all need in isolation

A Sheffield woman has committed herself to helping her struggling neighbours during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, 2nd April 2020, 4:36 pm
Everybody needs a good neighbour - especially now

Nicole Madden was in the midst of planning a street party for her community in Sharrow, when the country went into lockdown earlier this month.

Determined not to let her community spirit be dampened, the 29-year-old shifted gears, using the money put aside for the party to create parcels containing basic food and essentials, which she delivered to her most vulnerable neighbours.

Nicole, who works in catering for a local hospital, said: “South Yorkshire Housing Association had agreed to supply the funding for the party, which I organised to bring everyone in the local area together.

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“When the event was cancelled, SYHA agreed to let me keep the funds and use them to help those most in need in the area.

“When I went to the shops I noticed there were no essentials and it got me thinking, if I was finding it difficult - and I am young and able - how are those who are finding it difficult to cope in this time of crisis?

“I went out and with the money I would have used for the street party, bought items of essentials that I thought people would need, like pasta, rice, toilet rolls, potatoes, and then spilt them into bags.

“I did tailor the bags a little – for example, I know someone in the community is diabetic, so wanted them to have the right things.”

Nicole also went a step further, passing out her phone number to her neighbours, in case they need anything, and joining South Yorkshire Housing Association’s army of volunteers, who are working hard to help communities get through the current situation.

Nicole added: “When I took the food to my neighbours, one lady cried when I gave her the food, which of course set me off.

“She told me that she didn’t expect anyone to think about her in a time like this – she was just so overwhelmed with emotion.

“It’s so important to have good neighbours and a sense of community, as it wouldn’t feel like home if you didn’t have that.

I’ve lived in places before where there’s been no community spirit and it made me feel very isolated.

“In Sheffield we’re known for being a friendly bunch and during this time we really need to show that, and be there for each other.

“I’d just like to remind people to keep safe, well, and be kind – as long as we are kind to one another we can get through anything.”

If you would like to lend a hand locally, contact South Yorkshire Housing Association’s volunteering manager, James Smith, by emailing [email protected] or call 07812 030744.