EXAMPLES of community spirit have already been providing a shining light in these unquestionably dark times.

In Matfen, the village store has reached out to elderly and vulnerable customers in an attempt to shield them from the worst of the coronavirus.

Ian Raper, who runs Matfen Village Store and Coffee Shop, posted on Facebook to extend a helping hand to people living in the rural village,.

Ian offered to deliver essential supplies to anybody who either struggles to get out or has been advised not to by the Government.

Older people, as well as some organ transplant recipients, cancer patients, those on immunosuppressant therapies and anyone with severe respiratory conditions have been advised not to leave their homes for 12 weeks.

While the service has yet to be utilised much so far, it’s sure to become busier as restrictions on people’s movements become tighter.

Ian said: “We just put something on Facebook to say if anybody needed deliveries or anything we could help.

“We’re being supported by people in the community, who said they would like to help.

“The take up is growing, and I imagine we would see more of it.”

Ian also explained why he made the decision to offer support.

The shop’s cafe, which won an award for its homemade pies just two weeks ago, has had to close due to the virus.

He continued: “We consider ourselves to be a hub of the community. We rely on the community to support us all year round.

“The cafe has had to close, but we can still do takeaways - so we can still get the tradesmen their bacon sandwiches.”

Ian and his team can be contacted at the store via telephone on 01661 886202

The community spirit shown by the staff at Matfen Village Store and Coffee Shop is the perfect example of local businesses going above and beyond to serve their communities in these difficult times.

The Hexham Courant is supporting such businesses through the launch of its ‘Backing Independent and Family Businesses’ campaign, in conjunction with its media partners in Newsquest Cumbria, to publicise businesses which are diversifying through the coronavirus pandemic to benefit the community.

l If you are a business which is diversifying during the coronavirus, we would love to hear from you at news.hx@cnmedia.co.uk.