STRETFORD Mall and local events company Place Maker Events have put out a very special request to local children as they ask for the streets to be filled with visual hugs and spread some joy amid the coronavirus crisis.

As the Covid-19 outbreak continues, and local traders are dealing with the incredibly challenging circumstances, the pairing has come up with a new initiative.

They have distributed a sunflower picture across selected Stretford schools.

It can be downloaded by visiting the Stretford Mall website and also Place Maker event.

Gareth Wilkins, area retail manager, Bruntwood Works, who run Stretford Mall with Trafford Council, said: "We're proud to be supporting the community in partnership with our essential shops here at Stretford Mall.

"The teams at the Mall have been working very hard to keep up with unprecedented demand in this extraordinary situation, and to ensure that the Mall remains a safe space for the community.

"It's been a fast-moving situation, one which we never could have imagined even just a few weeks ago. It feels like things are settling into a 'new normal' now.

The Mall’s opening times are now 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 10am to 4pm Sunday which most of the retailers are also working to.

"We've seen some wonderful community spirit and innovation over the last couple of weeks, as our retailers have adapted to an unparalleled set of circumstances.

"We will continue to serve the community.

"We know it's a tough time Stretford, but we're in this together.

"The children of Stretford are being asked to spread some joy by colouring, designing and customising the sunflower picture and putting it up in their window to represent ‘visual hugs’ for their friends, family and everyone to see.

“We hope that the streets will be filled with visual hugs to remind everyone that we are in this together."