Doing their bit in a crisis: TikTok, Tinder, Morrisons and Thameslink

See? It's not all doom and gloom...

Govia Thameslink Railway: brand praises front-line workers
Govia Thameslink Railway: brand praises front-line workers

As the weeks slowly blur into one surrealist hellscape of bad television and cry-eating, here are some of the initiatives bringing moments of optimism to the housebound masses.

Govia Thameslink Railway ‘rebrands’ to thank NHS workers

Govia Thameslink Railway – the company which operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services – has "rebranded" three trains to support NHS and key workers during the pandemic. 

Each of the trains has been revamped to include the phrase "NHS we thank you, key workers supporting key workers", in support of the 200,000 key workers who rely on the service every week.

"We are proud to be supporting the NHS, social care and emergency services during this crisis," Steve White, chief operating officer at Govia Thameslink Railway, said.

"We hope that our NHS and key worker trains show how grateful we are to those working so very hard to keep people safe and beat this virus. There are more than 50 hospitals across our network and we are carrying more than 200,000 key workers each week.

"The team at GTR appreciates each and every one of them. I am also really proud of our teams, key staff themselves, who have worked so hard to support this project."

TikTok brings housebound Zoomers together

TikTok is using the unparalleled power of social media to bring users together during the lockdown, with a wave of content creators uploading videos praising the efforts of the NHS.

The platform said it has seen more than 20,000 videos published around the topic #ThankYouNHS (attracting upwards of 300 million views), with another 4,000 hailing the efforts of the #ClapForOurCarers initiative – making them two of the most popular healthcare hashtags on TikTok.

Other popular videos created by healthcare workers include "NHS workers taking on the #BlindingLightschallenge" and maternity nurses dancing to Shakira’s lyric "You’re on the front line".

The brand has also donated £5m to the RCN Foundation’s Covid-19 healthcare support appeal, which provides emergency funding to front-line health and social-care workers.

Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said: "The whole country has been overwhelmed by the dedication and professionalism of all of our health and social care heroes battling against this global pandemic.

"I know the extraordinary pressures this virus has brought to professional and private lives, and I’m delighted that TikTok is supporting the RCN Foundation, which brings so much support to so many."

Dating apps swipe right for love on lockdown

Bumble: app hopes to connect users during lockdown

With the world adapting to life at home, Hinge and Bumble have installed in-app features allowing users to explore "virtual dating".

Both hope to bridge the awkwardness of turning a flirty conversation into face-to-face meetings through badges that allow singletons to reveal whether or not they would be up for a first date via webcam.

Tinder, on the other hand, has created a "passport" tool that gives members a chance to interact with people from across the globe, leading to a 20% increase in virtual travel to France, 19% to Germany and a 25% rise in users braving the digital trek to India.

Morrisons supports the vulnerable with phone-shopping service

In a drive to help vulnerable and elderly people with their weekly shop, Morrisons has launched a service allowing them to place orders over the phone, cutting out the toil of online shopping altogether.

Through the initiative, shoppers will be able to choose from a "takeaway" menu of 47 essential items, including milk, butter, eggs, potatoes, pasta, bananas, cornflakes and flour.

Each delivery will be left at the doorstep by staff wearing "Love to help" T-shirts.

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: "We are playing our full part in feeding the nation and ensuring those that are most in need can receive a delivery from a familiar face at Morrisons. This new telephone service will ensure that more people who can’t leave their home to go shopping will be able to get a delivery." 

If you want to help out a vulnerable family member, friend or neighbour, the service is available by calling 0345 611 6111 and selecting option five.

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