The worst of times can bring out the best in people. 

A fortnight into the lockdown, we’ve seen people adjusting to a way of life few could have imagined living even a few weeks ago. 

And while loo roll shortages, fights in the supermarket and “coronavirus coughs” have stolen headlines, most people have risen to the challenge of lockdown life. 

We’ve found that social distancing doesn’t mean having to break our ties with friends, neighbours, family and work colleagues. 

Many across Swindon have come together like never before.

David Renard, leader of Swindon Borough Council, said: “It’s inspiring and heartwarming to hear that during this time of global crisis people in Swindon are doing such wonderful things for their fellow citizens.

“It’s always important to be kind to people and kindness is needed now more than ever. 

“It’s in times like these that Swindon’s sense of community and civic pride really shines through.”

Today, the Adver celebrates 30 amazing acts of kindness.

A mum set up a virtual storytime session for children who couldn’t get to the library  Lisa Shearing along with her two children Jack, nine and Billy, five, hosted their first 15-minute session on the Liden library Facebook page last week. It has been viewed thousands of times. The 40-year-old said: “After seeing that a lot of resources were going virtual and because I’m really missing the library.”

Rainbow drawings have been cropping up in people’s windows as a show of thanks to NHS staff and other key workers.

For Jolene Breslin from Stratton, it was an opportunity for her and her three children Ronnie, four, Sean, six, and Tyler, 11, to express their gratitude to the NHS workers. She said: “We had some art stuff at home, so we thought it was good for our children to make this lovely piece of art to show our support to the NHS staff in Swindon and across the country at this stressful time.”

Swindon Advertiser:

Ronnie Breslin with his rainbow art

Sadik Ali, who owns The Khyber on Victoria Road, donated vegetarian curry and rice to pep up GWH staff spirits. He said: “I’m just helping them because they’re working all hours, they haven’t got time to go to the shop. They haven’t got time to have food at work, so I am just giving them meals ready to eat.”

Coach company Barnes offered to run errands for Swindon’s needy. The firm said: “Are you, or do you know someone, who is self-isolating within the local area and is unable to get out to the local shops for essentials to get them through? Our drivers are available for free of charge errand running during this difficult time for anyone who may need it. Whether this is food shopping, picking up prescriptions or anything else we can do, the Barnes team will be happy to help.”

Sammie Mumford launched a group called Helping Hands For Those In Need on Facebook to bring the community together and to help the needy. Sammie, 32, of Old Town, said: “I’m vulnerable myself there’s so many people out there who don’t know that people can help them through this time. There’s a lot of people who can’t go shopping for themselves, so I put this group together to let people know that we can help.”

Charity Age UK Wiltshire took on the provision of Meals on Wheels to the elderly or vulnerable on a seven-days-a-week basis. Director Matthew Morrison-Clarke said: “We are receiving an increasing number of calls from older local residents asking for advice and support to enable them to live safely at home, particularly through the current situation which is likely to continue for many weeks to come.”

Toddler Freya McIntosh, two, did her bit to brighten up Morrison street in Rodbourne. Mum Shelley, said: “She was very proud of her rainbow and got incredibly excited to see all the others. It has been lovely to see them springing up all over Rodbourne. They’re bringing happiness when there’s not much else to smile about.”

Swindon Advertiser:

Freya McIntosh with her rainbow drawing

Park North primary school Goddard Park delivered scores of school meals to hard-up pupils. Headteacher Mike Welsh said: “The kitchen staff are doing a fabulous job.”

Rough sleepers were given hotel rooms to live in by the council to help them self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak. A total of 21 rough sleepers were given accomodation.

And Great Western Hotel, Station Road, donated meals for the homeless and the support workers looking out for them. Michael Keenan of homelessness charity Threshold said: “The gents at GW Hotel are donating a hot feast of fresh cooked food each day for dinner and working with Threshold, SBC Rough Sleeper Navigators and all our combined friends to source and provide a hearty brunch each day as well.”

Volunteers at the Swindon Night Shelter shifted their operation from running a homeless shelter, to providing fresh food parcels to families after restrictions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic meant the team had to radically change their services.

Staff at Lawn Manor Academy donated all 250 pairs of glasses to the hospital to help protect staff during the coronavirus pandemic. Headteacher Sandra Muir contacted staff at the hospital to see if the NHS still needed personal protection equipment. 

Ava Notton-Barrett, 10, and sister Poppy, 8, decided to paint a huge rainbow on a kitchen wall at their Old Town home and dedicate it to frontline medical staff following the clap for the NHS event last week.

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy donated more than 1,000 pairs of medical grade gloves to Brighter Futures.

Cherise and Phil Merritt, owners of body repair shop Smart Car UK donated 150 face masks and almost 2,000 gloves to First City Nursing and Retain Healthcare. Mr Merritt said: “You see on the news that people are struggling to get hold of them and if I’m sitting on a load of it then it’s only right.”

Rodbourne residents gave a rousing rendition of Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life. People emerged from their homes to sing the uplifting ditty after word went around on Facebook. 

Swindon Advertiser:

Organiser Charlene Mills and her husband Matt in their front garden for the Rodbourne sing-a-long 

Boxes of donated food delivered by Swindon Scrapstore have brought tears of joy to families locked down because of the coronavirus pandemic The charity has started a doorstep delivery service to make sure the elderly and vulnerable don’t go without while government restrictions are in place.

Bin men have been cheered to see people leaving notes on their wheelie bins thanking them for their work. One woman sent us a picture of three bin men from the borough’s team three: “So many people thanking them and leaving lovely notes on their bins. Nice to be appreciated.”

Lisa Hearn and her four-year-old daughter Molly Pike painted rainbows and hung them in their front windows in Eldene. Lisa told the Adver: “My daughter loves rainbows and I explained to her that the rainbows signified that we’re all in this together and want to spread hope.”

People living in a Swindon street introduced their own traffic light system to help each other through the pandemic. Joanna Heaven, of Dunsford Close, said: “I don’t want to sound like Martin Luther King Jnr but I did have a dream.”

Lawn off licence the Liquor Store handed out free packs of toilet rolls to NHS workers. Owner Atul Patel said: “They couldn’t find toilet roll anywhere.”

A fundraising campaign by Brighter Futures to raise money for snacks and other treats for GWH workers battling coronavirus has hit almost £3,500.

Teachers at Seven Fields Primary School recorded a cover of Philip Oakey’s Together in Electric Dreams for their locked down pupils. To their surprise the students recorded their own video by way of thanks.

Honda donated tens of thousands of pieces of personal protective equipment to the Great Western Hospital, including gloves and overalls. 

Hayley Marie Ridgewell said: “My son, who is six, put a thank you note on our black wheelie bin and the lovely bin man saw it when collecting our rubbish. He looked at our house and gave a great smile and thumbs up to my six year old. This made his day!

TK Maxx donated Easter eggs and other treats to children of care workers who still have to go into The Deanery Academy.

BBC This Country stars Daisy and Charlie Cooper, who play cousins Kerry and Kurtan Mucklowe in the comedy, recorded a hilarious video for GWH staff

Swindon Advertiser:

Professional musician Rob Richings and Evelyn, seven, from Old Town, performed a song he wrote called Give on Facebook and it has now reached more than 125,000 views.

Businesses and schools across the county donated anti-bacterial hand gel and hand sanitiser to Wiltshire Police after a social media appeal.

Swindon DJs are coming together to play free sets on Facebook. The Stay Home Sessions will be streamed every Sunday at 4pm on the Men’s Mental Health Swindon.

Acts of kindness during the lockdown

Tell us about the acts of kindness you've experienced during the coronavirus lockdown.

Add your contribution now By uploading a contribution, for use online and in print, you accept our contributor terms. You will either own or have permission to use anything you provide.

MPs 'gladdened' to see how town has come together

Swindon’s two MPs Justin Tomlinson and Robert Buckland said they have been gladdened to see the way people have come together to look after their friends and neighbours and those people they don’t know, who need support and care.

Mr Tomlinson, the MP for North Swindon and minister for disabled people said: “When I was young everyone’s house had a front garden, and people worked in them, and got to know their neighbours by being out there.

“That’s changed. Houses are different, and in Swindon, we have a lot of graduates who come here to work, but then move about quite frequently, and it’s a more transient population.

“That means often people don’t know who is living in the same street, and that can be very difficult for people who are isolated or need more support.

“My mother moved down to Swindon to be near me about 13 years ago, but if she hadn’t, she’d be alone in Kidderminster and I know how difficult that would be, so I’m aware of what some people are facing.

Swindon Advertiser:

“It wasn’t a surprise but it was great to see hundreds of thousands of people immediately sign up to volunteer to help the NHS. And there are small groups springing up all over Swindon helping out people who need shopping, or someone to check on them.”

Mr Tomlinson’s mother is well-known borough and parish councillor Vera Tomlinson.

Mr Tomlinson’s Conservative colleague, South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, Justice Secretary and  Lord Chancellor added: “I am delighted but not surprised to see that community spirit and selflessness is alive and well in Swindon.

“After years of working in our local community, I have seen countless examples of this, and at this time of greatest need, I am reminded how glad I am to live here and to be a local MP too.”