FIVE community hubs are being set up across Bury to target help and support to the most vulnerable and needy during the coronavirus crisis.

These virtual teams will bring together the council, emergency services, housing, business and voluntary groups acting on one united front.

Their mission is to co-ordinate food, medicines, social contact and support for people without help from priority groups like shielded people, those aged 70 and over with a health condition, council service users and those who are socially or economically vulnerable.

Around 40 volunteers in Tottington are already ready and waiting to help their elderly neighbours who feel lonely following a recruitment drive by a local councillor last week.

Councillors in Radcliffe have also set up a coronavirus volunteer and support group to support the most vulnerable people in the community.

The council’s community hubs will cover five areas: Bury North, Bury South, Bury West, Prestwich and Whitefield.

They will proactively identify and reach out to vulnerable people directly using available data – but also want to hear from people directly.

The hubs will also co-ordinate and support the organised and informal community, charitable and faith groups providing support, and meet the government’s requirements for community hubs infrastructure for local supplies and distribution, when available.

Cllr David Jones, leader of Bury Council, said: “National crises always bring out the best in people. We can already see large numbers of people volunteering to do whatever they can to keep their communities safe, and are reminded of just how many charitable and voluntary groups that provide help in Bury all year round.

“Today, we’re formally launching our new community hubs to focus and co-ordinate all this herculean effort. These will be based at five locations across the borough, bringing together health and social care staff with people from the community.

“We will be actively seeking out those in our borough who we think need help the most, such as those who have been notified they are at higher risk because of their age or medical history, to get the most appropriate support to them.”

Cllr Yvonne Wright, who recruited dozens of volunteers in her own initiative independently of the council, is now keen for people to take up the offer.

The Tottington councillor said she will arrange for volunteers to call people who would like someone to phone them regularly, to check they are okay and to have a chat and added: “It’s for people feeling isolated that would like a friend to call in and check on them. It’s a free service.”

Cllr Jones added: “Food and medical supplies are vital, but so is simply being in contact, which can do so much for a person’s mental wellbeing, especially those who may already suffer from loneliness or depression."

To contact Cllr Wright about the Tottington volunteers, call 01706 823536 or 07762 116437. The Radcliffe Coronavirus Volunteer and Support Group is on Facebook and the community hubs hotline is 0161 253 5353.