A mutual aid group set up just two weeks ago is helping scores of vulnerable people thanks to an army of 150 volunteers and over 1,200 supporters.

Bedale Covid-19 Mutual Aid was launched with the backing of the town council and the community library volunteers and now has an established core of volunteers who can match up requests for help and support with people who can give assistance particularly with people who have to self isolate.

The group has set up their own helpline so people who do not have the internet can get in touch, leave a message and someone will get back to them. Leaflets were delivered across the town with information, and awareness of the support on offer has spread throughout the town.

Coordinator Brian Cook says it has been a learning curve but they have been heartened by the huge and enthusiastic response.

."We are getting a steady stream of calls to the helpline and are managing to match the volunteers to the help needed. We have an admin team of 17 people, including health and management professionals and IT experts.

"One of the main things has been coordinating the procedures so we are not repeating things and we are ensuring that people helping are safeguarded. We have added services such as a prescription service and a delivery van goes round making one trip rather than several people making several trips, it cuts down the number of people having to leave their homes.

"We have also set up a phone companionship service for people who want someone to talk too. I am very pleased with how it has gone, there have been issues but people have been so keen to get involved and to offer help and support.

"Over 1,2000 are members of our facebook group, that's more than a quarter of the resident sin the town and there are so many stories on there of people helping each other and offering assistance.

The helpline number is 01677 455065, to volunteer or contact the group email bedalevolunteering@gmail.com and the facebook website where there is information about efforts through Bedale mutual aid is at https://www.facebook.com/groups/bedalemutualaid/

MP Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer has added a list to his website of businesses providing delivery services particularly for vulnerable people. Anyone with information contact www.rishisunak.com

In a message to constituents he said: "Unprecedented and life-changing that's the scale of the challenge the nation faces. However daunting the immediate prospect is I want you to know we will get through it. Two principles have driven the Government's response to the pandemic. The first is to keep people safe, the second to sustain our economy through the storm. I have been heartened to hear of all the wonderful things, small and not so small acts of kindness that have been happening in North Yorkshire. I am talking here of the COVID-19 community support groups to ensure nobody is left isolated."