"Village Friends" is a new initiative set up by the local churches and supported by the Parish Council and Support Staffordshire, to help coordinate support for those in Armitage, Handsacre and Hawkesyard who are in need.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak there has been an excellent response in the village with several local initiatives being set up on Facebook, WhatsApp, Nextdoor as well as neighbours looking out for each other. It has been great to see such an outpouring of community support.

The aim is not to replace these initiatives but to coordinate and provide telephone access to help those who do not have Internet at home. Village Friends are here to provide practical and social support to those who either cannot help themselves or cannot easily find help from family, friends or neighbours.

While local people have been providing practical support to those around them, the County Council has also been setting up new services. All critical support and personal care will be provided by Staffordshire County Council. Local voluntary groups are being asked to support them by providing non-critical help to people in the community especially those who are self-isolating. This might involve shopping, collecting prescriptions or befriending over the telephone. Requests for help that are received by the county or district for non-critical help will be passed onto local voluntary groups such as ‘Village Friends’.

All official voluntary groups, such as Village Friends, in the county are coordinated by Support Staffordshire and as trusted partners have safeguarding and GDPR policies and procedures in place.

Village Friends has received a grant to assist with costs from the National Emergencies Trust via The Community Foundation for Staffordshire.