VOLUNTEERS from a Blackburn mosque are using social media to coordinate efforts to help residents cope with the Coronavirus outbreak.

The volunteer committee at Masjid Norul Islam, on Audley Range, are using Whatsapp, Google Hangouts, Facebook and other online tools to get their message across to local communities.

Committee member Yusaf Patel, who runs local web design company YP solutions, has been at the forefront of the mosque’s digital strategy.

He said: “We started it off a few weeks ago when things came into perspective and we realised it was going to become serious.

“As a committee as a whole we decided we’d set up a scheme to help the community so from there we created a Whatsapp group and people then forwarded it onto other groups and before you know it we had 250 members.”

The committee sent its first social media post out last weekend, which has already drawn the community’s interest.

This digital strategy has also been key to coordinating relief measures across the Audley Range and Queens Park areas where the committee aims to provide support to any residents who are in need.

Mr Patel said: “We thought to ourselves, how are we going to get the word out? So we used a Google Hangouts to organise ourselves and we’ve now got 12 in the team talking to each other and making sure everything gets done.”

The committee’s efforts are supported by 60 active volunteers and by help from local businesses including SDP Media which supplies high-vis jackets and Audley Range based PK Foods which has supplied food at reduced prices.

The volunteers then help deliver food and medical supplies along with advice and companionship.

Mr Patel said: “You’ll see people who are struggling to get medical advice because English isn’t their first language so we’ll be there to help them out.”

He added: “When we’re experiencing a few more weeks of lockdown people, especially elderly people, will struggle with loneliness, anxiety and depression so we’ve got people on hand who can help with that.”

For more information about services or volunteering visit: https://www.masjidenoorulislam.org/covid-19-support.php.