Ways to help, and reasons to be cheerful
- Clap for NHS: Last night's 8pm round of applause for the NHS seems to have been a roaring success. Many people have posted videos of the city (and country) coming together to show our appreciation for the nation's carers, medics and other NHS workers.
- Compassion London: This new charity was set up by Leon Aarts and Annabel Karmel to bring thousands of meals to vulnerable groups. Working with The Yum Yum Food Company and an army of volunteers, they're busy feeding the needy. But they need more funding. "Getting a meal to someone in need costs about £2.50. One donation of just £10 enables us to feed a family of four. £100 will help us feed at least 40 children a hot delicious meal". Give generously, or volunteer, here.
- NHS food discounts: While many bars, restaurants and cafes have closed, some remain open for takeaway or delivery. Among them, a healthy number are offering discounts to our valiant frontliners of the NHS. We've compiled a list, and are looking for any additions.
- NHS free beer: On a related theme, a London brewery is suggesting you "buy the NHS a beer" to say thank you. Gipsy Hill brewery has set things up so you can add £5 to a growing bar tab. Once the taproom reopens, anyone with NHS ID can claim a free pint until the tab runs out. Great idea, as it'll also help keep one of our favourite breweries afloat.
- Donate a dinner: Caterer Jimmy Garcia is keeping his chefs busy preparing meals for the vulnerable. His #DonateADinner initiative has seen hundreds of meals delivered to the most vulnerable in Wandsworth. They need donations to keep the drive going, and you can help here.
- Stream theatre: The National Theatre has announced online screenings of some of its hit plays. Each Thursday from 2 April, you'll be able to stream a play via YouTube for free. Performances include One Man Two Guvnors, Jane Eyre, Treasure Island and Twelfth Night, with more to come. The NT joins other theatres in putting performances online, including the Royal Opera House and Shakespeare's Globe.
- Stay in, work out: Need a break from Joe Wicks? The new Stay In, Work Out initiative from Sport England rounds up dozens of suggestions for keeping fit and healthy while trapped indoors (and, yes, Mr Wicks is on there too). "Join the movement" via its website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
- Blitz walk: This is rather good. Steve Hunnisett is a guide with a particular interest in the war years. He's conducting virtual tours of central London, looking at the places that were devastated during the two world wars. Follow him on Twitter to learn a bit of history about some very familiar locations.
- London readings: Jenny Draper is another tour guide determined not to twiddle her thumbs. She's got a big stack of London books to enjoy, and she's going to read out excerpts live every day at 4pm on Instagram @jrennocks. Topics covered so far include an interview with a Victorian mudlark from Henry Mayhew's London Labour and the London Poor, and Ian Mortimer's explanation of the Black Death from his Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England.
Latest London coronavirus news
- The UK has recorded it largest leap in a single day of deaths from coronavirus, from 578 to 759 with 11,658 confirmed cases. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is among those to contract the disease.
- It's not just retired NHS staff who are heading back to work. The Met has now called for PCs and sergeants who left the force in the past five years to return to a paid or voluntary role.
- London's hospices are in urgent need of funding, as charity shops close and traditional sources such as the London Marathon dry up.
- Meanwhile, Battersea Cats and Dogs Home has closed to the public for the first time in its history. It comes at a time when animals are more likely to be mistreated or neglected, and the centre fears it will have a huge challenge on its hands when it does reopen.
- Open Garden Squares has announced its cancellation. Although it would not have taken place until June, and is mostly an outdoor pursuit, it's difficult to see how it could have gone ahead if the current lockdown rules are still in place. The organisers remain hopeful that they can stage an alternative event later in the year.
- The entrance to Nightingale Hospital — formerly the ExCel conference centre — is already in place, just days after its commission was announced by the government.
Entrance to the NHS Nightingale Hospital at the ExCeL centre is ready. pic.twitter.com/ZGhki9jGh7— Ted Jeory (@TedJeory) March 26, 2020
- All Points East festival has announced its cancellation.
And in other news
A weekly update of London's transport news, including how to apply for a rail ticket refund amid coronavirus.
Fact of the day
Florence Nightingale, after whom new hospital NHS Nightingale is named, was born 200 years ago this year. Known as 'the lady of the lamp', she is usually depicted carrying a Persian-style oil lamp like the one shown above, or else a simple candle. In reality, the nurse would have used a Fanoos lamp, which looked like a cylindrical accordion. One from her Scutari hospital can be seen in the Florence Nightingale Museum (when it's open).