My Life in Lockdown: Chorley businessman overcomes financial anxiety to help vulnerable people

It’s been the most enormous change in the way we live, work and socialise in living memory.

By Laura Longworth
Friday, 22nd May 2020, 3:45 pm
Chorley business man Craig Willetts has been spending his lock-down running a national Facebook group called People Volunteering to Assist the Vulnerable During Coronavirus (Covid-19).
Chorley business man Craig Willetts has been spending his lock-down running a national Facebook group called People Volunteering to Assist the Vulnerable During Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Two months after the first social distancing measures were brought in following the coronavirus outbreak, we asked three Post readers to tell us their experiences of daily life under lock-down - and how it has changed their routines and outlook on life.

He vowed not to let financial worry about his business eat him up.

Instead, Chorley man Craig Willetts has turned a hit to his business into an opportunity to help others.

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Taking a breather from his work, Craig has been spending his lock-down running a national Facebook group called People Volunteering to Assist the Vulnerable During Coronavirus (Covid-19).

He said: "We've had a drop in custom, as people don't feel confident spending money because of the economic climate, and that's understandable.

"My business has teetered off but it's allowed me to step back and do something worthwhile.

"I could be moping or panicking about my business but having enough free time to do charity work has been the highlight of lock-down for me. It has really taken off. I've loved it."

Each volunteer has been paired with an individual vulnerable person to help them access anything they need, be it food, medication, or a friendly chat. One of those is a man in his 80s who is unwell and has a son with learning difficulties.

"He's high-risk and panicking about his son so we check up on him and pick up his inhalers. It gives him peace of mind," Craig said.

Some 70% of the volunteers hail from Lancashire, many of whom have been helping the business man to make 40 to 50 meals for the elderly every day two or three times a week.

Craig also spends his Monday evenings feeding the homeless at St Laurence's Church in Union Street, Chorley.

He said: "We made 26 meals at the start but the total increased to 82 one week. Now, we're feeding anyone who could benefit from a hot meal.

"We're trying to support people at every level and have as much impact as possible.

"And the feedback has been phenomenal. People really appreciate what we're doing.

"And the feeling you get from helping people is addictive."

The biggest surprise about life in lock-down for Craig is seeing how much people want to help others.

He added: "The bulk-buying has shown there is good and bad but the whole experience has really brought people's personalities out.

"Many are going above and beyond to support those in need. People have really shown their true colours.

"And it's the people you don't expect who turn out to be the best of the bunch."

To arrange a donation of food or ingredients, please contact Craig on 01772 699984.