A SOUTHAMPTON charity is appealing to all those in the city who have been "laid off" from the hospitality and retail industries amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Comminicare is calling on anyone who is currently not working due to the closure of shops, cafes and restaurants to volunteer to help the city's most isolated and lonely resident.

As the Coronavirus situation develops, Communicare is urging people to volunteer now to help others in their community with essential supplies and emotional support.

Manager of the charity, Annie Clewlow said: “We’re not asking people to participate in non-essential trips out or encouraging people to leave home unnecessarily, but we do need help with checking on our service users during this period.

“We need people to come forward, who could help regularly, even if it’s just to telephone some of the city’s lonely and isolated each day to check on them.

"Many already only had a small network of people they socialised with, facilitated by our services. Before the Coronavirus outbreak they may have seen just one or two people a week at our organised lunch clubs and events, and may have no family close by.

"So they were already isolated and lonely before this unprecedented event.”

Communicare’s Good Neighbours’ Network normally supports nearly 400 individuals and families annually, covering more than 2,300 tasks including one-to-one befriending, transport to activities, such as the regular lunch clubs and tea parties it hosts and shopping for, or with, those it helps.

All the assistance offered is free to users, although beneficiaries are invited to make a donation if they are able, and 'Communiteers' are offered expenses.

“Even chatting over the garden fence at a safe distance would help those who are lonely, and naturally worried, and have become even more isolated as a result of the situation we’re all in," Annie added.

"They need regular contact from someone trustworthy.

"For this reason we would not recommend knocking on doors of those who won’t already recognise you as a near neighbour.

"Remembering to keep a safe social distance apart at all times is also vital.”

To find out more about volunteering, please call 023 8021 6023, visit www.communicareinsouthampton.org.uk