OLDHAM Council chiefs have hailed the work of its Doorstep Engagement Team helping to support the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bosses say the team has been out and about in all weathers knocking on doors and chatting to people - letting them know where they can get support from services such as the Oldham Council Helpline and Social Prescribing.

Small teams made up of Oldham Council staff, Oldham Community Leisure workers and volunteers have visited 20,000 properties.

One of those volunteers who is giving up their own time to help others is Janette Hodgkinson.

Janette is a retired nurse who worked for the NHS for 44 years.

In March when a call went out for retired nursing staff to return to work, Janette answered it and resumed her duties. She witnessed first-hand the devastation Covid-19 had on people’s lives.

When she was no longer able to volunteer at her local church due to the disease, Janette put her name down to volunteer for Action Together where she helped with the Age UK Oldham shopping service and also delivered craft sets.

Then around six weeks ago Janette started supported the Doorstep Engagement Team and goes out with them three times every week now. She loves walking and being outside so the role is perfect for her.

Janette said: “I enjoy the work especially talking to older people, advising them they don’t need to be lonely and isolated and suffer in silence.

“I like to think my clinical knowledge and having patience and understanding in dealing with people is making a difference to people’s lifestyles.

“We’ve been getting a very positive reception from people and they are very grateful to have a doorstep chat. It’s really important we spend the time with the people who may be lonely and isolated.

“By knocking on doors, it also gives us the chance to clarify the local measures, because many are confused about all the different rules in place. Hopefully we are making people understand them better.”

And it’s not just Oldham residents who are benefiting from Janette’s care and support she’s also worked in a primary school in Kenya and at an orphanage in Tanzania, where she still supports some students with their education.

Councillor Arooj Shah, deputy leader of Oldham Council and cabinet member for Covid-19 response, said: “People like Janette and her fellow volunteers from Action Together are helping to make a real difference in our communities.

“They’ve been out and about in all weathers - always with a smile on their faces.

“We have an amazing team of volunteers in Oldham who do a great job supporting council staff, and those from partner organisations, who are also going above and beyond every day.”

We’d love to hear your stories, see your photos, and share your experiences of how the community is pulling together across Oldham during the pandemic.