Communities across Kirklees have worked tirelessly to help people in need during the Coronavirus pandemic. Here at Third Sector Leaders Kirklees, we have been supporting the network of charities, community groups and and newly formed mutual aid groups who have responded.
Bridget, our colleague who has been leading on this work commented:
“All our lives changed overnight on March 23rd. But from the chaos, confusion and uncertainty created by Covid-19 emerged an amazing group of people – the Kirklees mutual aid volunteers. Getting to know them as colleagues and friends during the last 10 weeks as been a great joy amidst the challenges of lockdown. I feel privileged to have worked with them and witnessed what they have achieved. Thank you mutual aid and community volunteers everywhere – for your compassion, hard work, resourcefulness, creativity and complete refusal to ever, ever give up.”
Here are just a few stories from some of those Volunteers, Charities and Community Groups:
CHICKENLEY COMMUNITY HUB
“Chickenley Community Centre is central hub of the community. We have been distributing food parcels across Dewsbury East since March. This has been a co-ordinated effort of a team of 6 Volunteers. The COVID 19 Coronavirus has brought the best out in people. It has brought us together to support each other. Neighbours and passers by are taking the time to say Hello or a simple acknowledgement of each other. We have worked with many partners in order for peoples needs to be met.” – Cathy and Paul
“Working as a volunteer at Chickenley Food Bank during this crisis has given me the opportunity to support local people. This has also helped me keep focussed as a person and made the isolation a little less stressful by keeping busy.” – Kerry,
ALMONDBURY SOLIDARITY AGAINST CORONAVIRUS
“On 15th March I set up a Mutual aid group with the support of good friends who as much as myself care for community. We have been on a very unusual journey so far, to me this experience is all about coming together as fellow human beings, it has been an eye opener of how many people are just forgotten by society and how very happy their faces are when you come and help without expecting anything in return. Every day something new happens, there are some wonderful stories when we as a group been able to help someone who was on their last food supplies and they saw our posters and phoned us. I have cried several times and I have laughed many times knowing that yet another person can sleep well without worrying about shopping or running out of medicines.
View Patrycja’s full Volunteer Story here.
“I think it’s important to give back to your community, now more than ever! It’s a very small amount of time taken out of my day yet helps to make a big difference to the lives of others. The two people I help both live alone so it’s not just about having someone to drop off their shopping but having someone to chat to and share a few stories with is something they really appreciate.” Read Sophie’s full Volunteer story here
“A few weeks ago this group of amazing people, didn’t know each other, but now they are part of a team with the shared purpose of ‘Loving Our Neighbours’. They are loving people through this lockdown and there isn’t anything that is too much trouble for them. Some of the stories they have to share, of lives they have touched and friendships they have made, is truly inspiring. Looking forward to seeing this team grow, as we continue to look out for our neighbours and strengthen our communities, even after Covid!” – Charlene
YORKSHIRE CHILDREN’S CENTRE – BATLEY AND BIRSTALL COMMUNITY VOLUNTEERS
The Batley and Birstall Community Anchor team at Yorkshire Children’s Centre would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the wonderful Mutual Aid Groups (MAGS) and volunteers who have supported us with our Community Response requests to help the most vulnerable and those shielding and isolating due to Covid-19. During the past few weeks we have been supported with well over 100 requests for those living in the Batley and Birstall area, helping to provide food parcels, facilitating shopping requests, collecting prescriptions, dog walking and so much more. This tremendous response is something we would not have been able to achieve without the vital support of community volunteers.
We have received fantastic feedback from our follow-up and check- in calls with individuals who have been helped. In many cases the appreciation was not only for the support for the tasks in hand. but by the volunteers adding a little extra in taking additional time with individuals and connecting by having a face-to-face (socially distanced!) 5 – 10-minute chat. For many this may have been the first and only contact or conversation they have had with another person in several weeks.
We are aware that many volunteers have been dedicating days, evenings, and weekends in helping others. The level of support being provided is exceptional and genuinely appreciated.
LOCAL SERVICES 2 YOU WORKING WITH LINDLEY MUTUAL AID GROUP
“Working with LINDLEY Mag has been a true pleasure – Shafena (and her Mum too), Chrissie and Lisa are ‘all over’ this and do not let a stone go unturned until peoples issues are solved. They really do care – they would be a god send to any Third Sector organisation as an employee.” – Lisa Newbold – Local Services 2 You, community anchor organisation.
THE 20:20 FOUNDATION IN DEWSBURY
“I was pleased to volunteer with the 20:20 Foundation when local people needed help. There has been an amazing community response to the Cornavirus crisis in the Dewsbury West area. Lots of people have been donating food and other items. I have been volunteering 3 or 4 days a week helping put the food parcels together, it has been hard fasting and still going to volunteer. Some people have been really upset and in tears as they didn’t realise someone could help. This crisis has made the community come closer together, it doesn’t matter what colour or faith, everyone has been helping each other.” – Nargis. You can read more about the 20:20 Foundation Community Response here
GOLCAR MUTUAL AID GROUP
“I have been so tremendously proud of the way Golcar has responded to support its own, and others, as a resilient, ‘can do’ community. We have 169 Good Neighbour volunteers who have been delivering shopping, walking dogs, collecting prescriptions and posting letters. We have 26 buddies assisting 28 residents who live on their own, and a regular weekly call back in place for 50 residents.
Our fabulously industrious Makers have made 413 laundry bags, 76 sets of scrubs, and 118 ear protectors. We have run donations of cards chocolates and craft materials to local Care Homes, toiletries to HRI staff and toys for local families in need. We also work in conjunction with the wonderful Clems Nursery to provide flower posies every fortnight to our buddied residents – our ‘You are Not Forgotten’ flowers.
When I look back on what this village has achieved over the last 2 months, I am struck by how much talent, skill & goodwill is out there. I count myself lucky to live in such a lovely place with such wonderful people.”
Jane Smith, Coordinator at Golcar Covid-19 Mutual Aid
This is just a taste of the amazing work that has been going on across Kirklees.
You can find out more about the community response to COVID-19 in Kirklees here: https://communityresponsekirklees.com/posts/
If you are community group responding to the Coronavirus in Kirklees that need some help please email: firstname.lastname@example.org