James Heappey weekly column

It goes without saying this is an unbelievably tough time for everyone as we continue to battle against Covid-19.

The Government is doing all it can to get us through this and while it won’t be perfect, the priority has – and always will be - to save lives.

I know many of you are worried about what the future holds but this community here in Somerset is one which is extremely supportive and we really are seeing the very best of human kind. 

It has been heart-warming to see the rapid progression of the local groups which have been set up to support those who are most vulnerable by delivering food and taking part in other important tasks. There are groups on social media which you can join in Glastonbury, Shepton, Burnham-on-Sea, Wells, Cheddar, Wedmore, Walton and I am sure there are more so please do share them with me and the community. I will ensure a full list is up on my website with the relevant contacts.

The Health Secretary also announced on Tuesday there is a need for 250,000 volunteers to deliver medication, shop for those isolating, drive people to hospital appointments or just speak to those who will be alone for the 12-week period so these groups here in Somerset will be absolutely crucial. 

You can sign up on the NHS website and at the time of writing, I have seen that 158,000 have already registered which is just brilliant.

It is important to say, however, that you must be in good health and have no symptoms of Coronavirus. There will be training as to how to social distance while volunteering and this is key. 

As a volunteer you will be observing the new measures by only venturing out 'to provide care or to help a vulnerable person'. 

We must all stay home unless absolutely necessary and while these newly-introduced measures are tough, they are crucial to stop the spread of this virus and ensure our incredible NHS is protected.

Please do follow the advice given by the Government, it is so important in these testing times.