Family helps more than 50 isolated neighbours during lockdown
Three young boys and their parents have helped more than 50 isolated neighbours needing food or a friend during lockdown.
The Barry family members have become famous in their community for setting up a free vegetable stall, delivering essentials to vulnerable residents, and offering to connect with those quarantining alone.
Mother Angela Barry, 32, a church administrator, said she was keen to help her elderly neighbours in Breightmet, in Bolton, Greater Manchester, after thinking about how her father, who died last year, might have struggled to cope during lockdown.
Mrs Barry said their endeavour began when she ordered extra boxes of vegetables from their local market for neighbours and her sons Joshua, nine, Ben, seven, and Isaac, four, were excited to set up a stall in their front garden.
Her husband Martin Barry, 33, a wood machinist, has also been helping after he was furloughed.
Mrs Barry said their children, who have been working on the stall for two weeks, “absolutely love it”.
“They get dead excited every time someone takes anything from the stall,” she said.
“They’re getting to know so many people in the area, and everyone recognises them. They think they are famous.”
“They also like it because we are remembering grandad by looking after the elderly people in our area,” she added.
“Their grandad was always helping people and we’re doing this in his memory too.”
Mrs Barry said they have also been delivering essential food and Easter eggs to vulnerable people, and to those still waiting on hampers from the Government.
The family also set up a system encouraging neighbours to display coloured cards in their windows to indicate if they would like assistance.
Mrs Barry said one neighbour had no internet access and had not spoken with anyone in more than two weeks until her sons reached out to them.
She said: “It’s just so needed at the moment, there’s a lot of people who have always needed support and help, but what’s happening now is meaning that people who wouldn’t usually need any help, are doing.
“We need to rely on each other more than we ever have done before.”
“It’s been great, the people on our street have been very grateful,” she added.
“Some people have lived here for 40 years and they have never experienced anything like this.
“We are talking about having a street party when it’s all over.
“Once this time has passed, we will be continuing to work to make our community stronger and to look out for those who are isolated.”
Breightmet Morrisons has donated spare food to the family’s efforts, but they have funded most of the deliveries themselves.
As their mission to help their neighbours has “snowballed”, Mrs Barry set up a fundraiser so they can keep it up throughout lockdown.
To donate, visit www.gofundme.com/f/fruit-and-veg-for-our-community