Column by the leader of Stroud District Council, Doina Cornell.

WE’VE been hit by a global pandemic but one which affects us all personally. This is a crisis facing the whole world, and we are all on the same side, working together to keep everyone safe. What we do locally can make a real difference.

The response from our communities has been so moving, with so many offers of help and volunteers working flat out to create local hubs to help people who are having to self-isolate. A county-wide hub has also been set up to register offers of help from individuals, groups and businesses, as well as a place to request help for yourself or someone you know. Here is the link: Stroud District Council has set up a community support cell with a team of officers to coordinate for the district and work with local groups to build a network that has the resilience and capacity to keep going for some months.

People with the most serious health conditions will be written to by the NHS as they will be required to self-isolate for 12 weeks. We’ll be contacting every one of them personally to find out if they have support in place.

Public servants, workers and volunteers are ready to spend the next months working on our behalf. Our key workers, in hospitals, and essential shops and utilities can’t stay at home. We are expecting a lot from them and they need our support.

We can all do our bit by sticking to government guidelines and the strict new measures to stay at home to protect as many people as possible and the NHS. Ask your friends and family to do the same. Wash your hands, keep your social distance, and stay at home except for exercise once a day, travel to and from work where only absolutely necessary, or to shop for essential items and for medical or care needs. For any information specific to our district regarding Covid-19, look at our webpage