A MENTAL health champion says his concerns are growing people face up to the realities of a winter coping with covid-19.

Andy Fearon, of the Give A Day initiative, says Carlisle needs to have a plan to help keep hope alive during the winter months which could be dominated by further restrictions, economic shockwaves and a second peak of coronavirus.

He said: “It is not like anyone has been through this before and knows how to navigate this so there is some real vulnerability around and I fear for people as the clocks go back and we go into winter.

“When we had the lockdown we had some glorious weather and it felt like we were trying to get to the end of something.

"If you know you’ve got a marathon to run and you get to the end you can put in that extra effort, but now I think it feels to some people like they got to the end and somebody’s told them to turn around and run back.”

Andy has inspired hundreds of people and businesses to volunteer their time through Give A Day and his work at the Carlisle Vineyard Church.

Now he hopes Carlisle can map out some dates and activities to give people some positive landmarks to aim for during the winter and support those who have been working flat out since March to help the vulnerable.

Already, the Give A Day initiative has distributed 1500 ‘Bags of Courage’ and 150 hampers with donations from businesses including Yorkshire Tea and McVities. with support from Carlisle City Council and Cumbria County Council.

They have been used to give a boost to teachers, NHS frontline staff and people working with those with addiction and others.

And at Petteril Bank School during the summer a staff room was renovated and turned into a lounge complete with a coffee maker and supply of beans.

For information on the Give A Day initiative, or to get involved, go online to its website at: giveadaytothecity.org