A SMALL army of volunteers have been overcoming the challenges of lockdown to make a real difference in their village.

The Haydon Bridge Covid-19 Community Care Group is working tirelessly to provide food, kindness and support for anyone who needs it.

The Hexham Courant launched a special appeal last month with the aim of celebrating special citizens across the Tyne Valley.

This week we shine a light on the Haydon Bridge group, which has flourished with the help of up to 50 volunteers.

Local resident Hayley Turner set the ball rolling two weeks before the UK went into lockdown back in March.

“I saw on the news that somebody had put flyers through their neighbours doors to offer support, and I thought it was a great idea,” she said.

“I have family in Italy, and I knew lockdown was highly likely to happen here. I started a Facebook group, and the level of response was overwhelming.”

Hayley was joined by Gill Valentine and Julie Renwick, and the three co-administrators provided a platform for others to get involved.

Members of Shaftoe Young Farmers helped to distribute flyers across the Haydon Bridge area, and phone calls flowed in as people in need of support were quickly identified.

The group offered to pick up shopping, deliver mail, and provide urgent supplies for those self isolating, as well as providing a friendly phone call service.

The volunteers also obtained food parcels from the charity Age UK, which have been delivered to the doorsteps of grateful recipients, including those who are elderly or vulnerable, and families whose circumstances have changed during the pandemic.

“We’ve supported a cross-section of the community,” said Hayley. “There are people who can’t get out, and they appreciate us bringing food to their door, and enjoying a socially distanced chat with our volunteers.

“This interaction has proved valuable for some people who don’t have a lot of contact with others, and a friendly conversation can make the world of difference to people’s mental health.

“Unfortunately, some people who made a decent living before this pandemic have lost their jobs, and we have referred them to the food bank.”

Hayley said the group, which has also supported some key workers, was there for all members of the community, regardless of their circumstances.

She added: “I just want to thank everyone who has been involved, and the community for pulling together. We’re all working hard, in accordance with government regulations, to keep people safe and well, and we all just want to get through this together.”

Nominate your bouquet of the week here: https://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/my/ccn/questionnaire/DVvhP5KW/

When lockdown was sprung upon the UK on March 23,