The 20:20 Foundation have been supporting people in need in the Dewsbury area during the Coronavirus pandemic.
I have been volunteering in the Green wood Centre Library and I have worked with lots of charities over the years as I have a passion that I like helping people. So 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.
We have all been working together as a team, I have met lots of new people and I hope it will continue in the future as there are people that still need help.
20:20 foundation have brought people closer together, people talk with each other more and are more open and relaxed. I just want to say that the local Councillors, businesses, 20:20 Foundation and Volunteers have done so well, I am really proud, it has been amazing.
CLLR PERVAIZ’ STORY
I have volunteered previously with the 20:20 Foundation helping out on trips for vulnerable people to the seaside and activities for disabled children. When Covid-19 happened it was very difficult time for everyone, so we quickly began working together with other Councillors and the 20:20 Foundation to set up some support.
I have been making up food parcels, labelling them and delivering them to people who may be in financial need or isolating. We ask people to answer a simple questionnaire so we can assess their need, people on zero hour contracts and single parents have been particularly affected. We encourage people who are eligible to apply for Universal Credit but it can take 5 weeks to receive the money.
Our food parcels cost between £15 and £20 – people can make a donation towards the cost if they can afford to. We are also carrying out supermarket shopping and collecting prescriptions for people who are isolating.
I have been volunteering every day making up 20-25 food parcels a day and we make sure people can eat healthily so it includes plenty of fruit and veg.
As a diabetic I need to make sure I am looking after myself when I volunteer, we have all been provided with PPE and make sure we social distance when we volunteer. I have always been passionate about volunteering, I am fortunate that my parents have always encouraged me to get out and help others. As a Councillor, living in the Dewsbury West Ward people feel they can approach me for help and trust me. This is important as people don’t always like to talk about their family and household issues with strangers. I feel very proud of what we have achieved. Seeing the number of vulnerable people in my community has touched my heart.
MAYOR OF KIRKLEES CLLR MUMTAZ HUSSAIN’S STORY
When the pandemic started, I contacted a few people to see what we could do to help vulnerable people in our community. We worked with Starr at the 20:20 Foundation and other Councillors and community members to set up a food parcel service.
We are mainly covering the Dewsbury West Ward but we have also helped people in Mirfield and Dewsbury South and East. We are working with local schools such as Diamond Wood Academy, health centres and Kirklees Council to make sure we are reaching people in need who are isolating or in financial crisis.
Some people are shy and find it hard to ask for help, so we have also taken vans of food out to the streets to offer help. I have been a Councillor for 14 years so I have a good knowledge of areas where there may be people who are vulnerable.
The volunteers who have come forward to help have been fantastic – not just in our Ward but across Kirklees. There are so many charities and organisations doing fantastic work, it has opened my eyes, without them I don’t know what we would do.
Starr at the 20:20 foundation has been working 24/7 in the community centre. He is talking to businesses and helping people – you need someone to coordinate who brings everyone together. We needed a large space to store the food and where the volunteers could socially distance, so we must also thank the community centres across Kirklees who have opened their doors rent-free to host the Cornavirus community responses.
I get a good night’s sleep knowing I have done something good to help someone vulnerable and needy. We are in a world-wide difficult situation, a lot of people have come out to volunteer, all doing their bit to help others.
I feel proud to being helping others, but it’s not just about Coronavirus, we still need to be working in the community and keep this going. I hope at some point we will be able to bring all the charities and voluntary groups together to say thank you, learn from each other and plan for the future.
Over 600 food parcels have been delivered to date. You can find out more about the 20:20 Foundation by visiting their facebook page.
If you live in Kirklees and need help, you can contact the Kirklees Council Coronavirus helpline: 0800 4561114 (8am to 6pm weekdays, 10am to 4pm weekends and bank holidays)