Pride in Linthwaite – a shared journey

Pride in Linthwaite volunteers

In spring 2020, Kirklees Council more than doubled the funding that ward councillors have available to support local projects in their area. Through this extra £30,000 of funding per ward, councillors are able to support the groups, projects and volunteers who are such a vital part of the community response to Covid-19. We’re sharing some stories from different wards, so you can see how councillors are using these funds in our local places.

Pride in Linthwaite were able to quickly transform into a mutual aid group, providing support to vulnerable people in Linthwaite and Cowlersley, when the lockdown was announced. The group (who had formed two and a half years earlier) quickly adapted from their usual activities of litter picking, community fundraising and events.

Setting up and running something new isn’t easy. All the practicalities are challenges. It can also be a challenge convincing people of your group’s value to the local area. Pride in Linthwaite had seen a mixed response to their usual activities. Some people volunteered hands-on support with things like litter picks, some were supportive from a distance and attended events, but others were not sure why the group was needed. Experiences over the past few months have helped more people to see the value of Pride in Linthwaite.

We spoke to Liz Quinn, NHS nurse and one of the directors of Pride in Linthwaite. Liz told us about some of the group’s work, how people have worked together during lockdown and the new-found trust that has changed how some local people see the group.

“Pretty much the first thing we did was get a leaflet together with a helpline number and did a mass leaflet drop to households. We wanted to make sure people knew who to contact if they were in need. We also had people contacting us to volunteer as things quickly escalated.

“Volunteers were delivering food and collecting prescriptions, they were dog walking and supporting a befriending service.

“Small acts of kindness can be simply heart-warming. One lady who was self-isolating was panicking about being able to post birthday cards to her nieces. We arranged for her to leave them on her doorstep, collected and posted them. She had been so anxious about not being able to post them, and was so grateful that someone was there to help her do this.”

“We’ve recorded in total over 220 ‘volunteering acts’ but this is likely to be more, through things such as the befriending service. Once someone had made contact, they would then make their own arrangements for continuing that connection.”

Whilst it takes a lot of energy and commitment to create new ways of supporting people, sometimes a little bit of funding is needed too. The local Colne Valley ward councillors were on hand to support the group:

“Two of our local councillors, Cllr Rob Walker and Cllr Donna Bellamy, were able to provide some funding from their own budgets that they’d been given to support groups who are part of the community response to the coronavirus. This meant we could start making up food parcels for those people who were self-isolating. It was nice that they worked together for the good of the community and put any party politics to one side.

“We were so lucky to have the ward councillors on board and all those volunteers, but we also had support from Morrisons supermarket in Meltham, who were fantastic by donating food. Also the manager and staff of the local Premier shop were able to just help us get what we needed for a person in need, particularly if it was an emergency. They were just brilliant.”

Relationships and partnerships have been a key part of Pride in Linthwaite’s ability to respond so well to the needs of the community. Liz explained how relationships have developed over the last few months:

“Whilst we are looking to wrap-up the mutual aid group side of things, it has enabled us to gain the trust of more people locally and strengthen our partnerships.

“All the volunteers want to remain part of the WhatsApp group we have, so if there is any ever need to mobilise again, they will be there. The socially distanced litter pick we’re organising has already got more people signed up to help than we’ve had before. There is a good feeling about the group and I think a change in perception about Pride in Linthwaite.

“We were all thrown in at the deep end. I think the council support has been really good, especially when we started. Even though it was chaotic for everyone they provided information and guidance. It was a shared journey. Links with councillors and local businesses have been excellent.

“Feedback from the people we’re all helping – moving them from state of panic to relief – has been something every one of us has had a role in.”

Ward project budgets – your councillors can help

Learn more about councillors

Works Better – get help to find work

Works Better header

This post was updated on 6th August 2020

If you’ve volunteered as part of the coronavirus lockdown over the last few months, helping to make sure the more vulnerable people in the community are looked after, you may be considering your next steps. It might be to do more volunteering, find employment or looking for a career change.

Help with finding work is at hand through Works Better. The team understands that this is a stressful time for job seekers and especially those who have recently been made redundant.

The support available includes:

  • Help to apply for Universal Credit
  • Mentoring
  • Advice on updating your CV
  • Searching for jobs
  • Preparing for interviews
  • Support with Job Applications and much more.

Works Better is an employment support programme that has been designed to help residents in Kirklees tackle barriers into work and find new employment opportunities in the future.

Currently, due to Covid-19, services are only being delivered via telephone and digitally, to make sure they comply with government guidance and that residents can still access this crucial support.

To access support from Works Better you must be out of work or unemployed and be a Kirklees resident aged 18+

Find out more

Works Better

or call 01484 221000 (and ask for Works Better)

 


Works Better Enhanced is part funded by the European Social Fund and managed by Kirklees Council. It is delivered across the Kirklees District in partnership with Fusion Housing, Paddock Community Trust, Proper Job Theatre Company and Kirklees Neighbourhood Housing.

 

Grief and Loss Support Service

Grief and loss support service

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership Grief and Loss Support Service is for anyone suffering any form of grief and loss, or those worried about losing someone, whether this relates to a family member, friend or member of their community.

Practical and emotional support and advice is available from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week via a freephone number 0808 1963833, or online chat facility. The team can offer support and help connect you with organisations local to you, who can offer additional help where needed.

Find out more

Grief and Loss Support Service

(includes posters in community languages and a British Sign Language video)

 

Community Response Hubs – take part in our evaluation

hand reaching out behind glass

Many people have contributed to the amazing community response to Covid-19 in our local places. Mutual aid groups, voluntary and community organisations, ward councillors, Kirklees Council officers, volunteers and partners have been working alongside each other to keep people safe. We are all part of the co-ordinated Community Response in Kirklees – and we all have a stake in our local places.

Our response has been supported through place-based Community Response Hubs, with people working together in new ways. We really value the relationships that have been so vital for this work. We want to grow and strengthen those relationships as part of our recovery and for the future. We are still in the very early stages of beginning to work with and alongside citizens in a meaningful way in our local places. Your insights can help us go much further.

On behalf of our Place Based Working Board (which includes council, voluntary sector and health colleagues), I’d like to ask for your support in helping us to think about what has gone well and not so well with the hubs.

How to take part

If you’ve been part of the co-ordinated Community Response in our local places, please take part in the Community Response Hubs Evaluation by 17th August 2020 to share your personal experiences:

Community Response Hubs Evaluation – take part now

Thank you for helping us learn how we can work together well in our local places in the future – and thank you for everything you’re doing to help keep people safe.

Getting help when your circumstances change

Get Help Now Assistance Road Sign

We know lots of people’s circumstances have changed since lockdown. Many people have been placed on furlough schemes and others have been made unemployed or unable to work.

A range of support and advice options are available for people who have had a change in their employment circumstances.


Where to get help and advice

If you’re helping someone who is concerned or unsure about what support they (or their family) can access, please share this information and guidance.

BetterOff Kirklees

BetterOff provides information on benefits entitlement for people who live in Kirklees, as well as help with applying online. BetterOff also provides information on how to find and apply for jobs.

BetterOff Kirklees

Kirklees Citizens Advice

Our local Citizens Advice is still operating and can provide general advice. Citizens Advice also have specialist services for issues like benefits entitlement, debt, homelessness and employment.

Kirklees Citizens Advice & Law Centre


What to do when your circumstances change

Where someone’s employment circumstances have changed, they should inform all relevant organisations and services. This could be Government services such as HMRC and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and Kirklees Council services such as Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction or the Local Welfare Provision (LWP) team. Not reporting these changes could result in benefit overpayments, which will need to be repaid.

By declaring any changes, people will be able to access the right support.

Not declaring a change in circumstances means potentially creating benefit overpayments. It could also mean missing out on Free School Meals, Universal Credit, support with Council Tax, rent or mortgage interest relief, and other financial support.

The best way to be sure is to encourage people to visit BetterOff Kirklees or our local Citizens Advice websites or helplines. This is where people can get help with working out what they are entitled to.

St. Andrew’s Church Liversedge – our food box network

Volunteers at St Andrew's Methodist Church

In spring 2020, Kirklees Council more than doubled the funding that ward councillors have available to support local projects in their area. Through this extra £30,000 of funding per ward, councillors are able to support the groups, projects and volunteers who are such a vital part of the community response to Covid-19. We’re sharing some stories from different wards, so you can see how councillors are using these funds in our local places.

The relationships councillors have with people in their communities, and their local knowledge, continues to be an important part of helping citizens in our local places respond to Covid-19.

Like many local groups and organisations, volunteers from St. Andrew’s Methodist Church in Liversedge realised that if they were going to set up a project to help their community, they were going to have to act fast to get it off the ground before lockdown happened. Their aim was to be ready to provide food boxes to vulnerable people across parts of North Kirklees.

Administered by Wesley Playhouse Ltd (as part of the Howden Clough Methodist Church in Birstall) the project quickly brought together representatives of other churches in North Kirklees, who together made a plan for the food box network.

Caroline Holt, one of the lead organisers, explained how the project came about and what they’ve achieved by working together with other partners. Funding from local councillors has been important in supporting their work.

“I was approached by a local ward councillor, Cllr Lisa Holmes. She has a really good knowledge of the communities and knew that through the network of churches something could happen. Churches covering the North Kirklees circuit quickly became part of the project.

“Getting funding to run a project under normal circumstances isn’t always easy. The bureaucracy involved can really hold things up. Cllr Holmes explained local ward councillors had been given extra funding so they could tackle issues more quickly. This allowed us to focus on getting the project up and running with minimal time wasted on form filling.

“We were keen to do things properly though, so made sure we consulted with parishioners on what they thought would be more useful to go in food boxes. From this we were able to work out the likely costs and let the councillors know how much funding we thought we’d need.

“We wrote a business plan to give ourselves some structure and an ability to demonstrate our approach. The councillors from Liversedge and Gomersal ward and Mirfield ward initially gave us £5,000 between them. They offered reassurance too though, that if the numbers of people requiring our help increased, they would support us with additional funding.

“The trust they showed in us to deliver a project like this was really important. We would have done something to support our communities anyway, but the time taken to do this would have been time lost when people really needed our help.”

As well as the benefit of having a good relationship with the councillors, Caroline also told us about the importance of managing the project properly and the support from other parts of the community.

“We knew it was important we reached the right people, so relied in part on referrals from the Covid-19 Community Response phone line set up by Kirklees Council. In this way, we knew the referrals we were getting were from people in need and were at a level of need we could definitely help with. We had so many people come forward to volunteer that we couldn’t even use all of them. This shows how brilliant the community response has been.

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Mav Morse taking a request

“Some people gave up their time every day, such as Liz and Richard Sands, along with Mav Morse who manned the phone line. We’re also hugely grateful to Steve Dawson of Tesco and Wendy Clough of Morrisons supermarkets, whose local branches gave us donations of food, meaning the funding we did have could go a lot further. It probably doubled the length of the project.

“In all, throughout the lockdown, we’ve helped over 200 households and continue to help some. We’ll keep helping them until we know they’re no longer vulnerable, but will also encourage them to take back their independence as time goes by.

“The success of the project and the benefits to our communities shows why it’s good for groups to have a good relationship with your local councillors. The councillors took the initiative in approaching us, trusted that we could help and gave us the funding to deliver something much needed in our communities at the time.”

Ward project budgets – your councillors can help

Learn more about councillors

 

The Welcome Centre – help with food and more

The Welcome Centre food bank and more

Do you know someone who needs help to get food?

The Welcome Centre is a food bank and more. This independent charity can help anyone in Huddersfield and South Kirklees. They can supply food, toiletries and household cleaning items. The Welcome Centre also offer advice and guidance.

If you know someone who cannot buy the food, toiletries or other household items they need, please advise them to contact someone who can make a referral for them (or seek their permission to contact someone on their behalf). This person could be their GP, teacher, health visitor, housing worker, counsellor or church.

These organisations can also offer help and can make a referral for a food parcel if necessary:

  • Local Welfare Provision team at Kirklees Council: 01484 414 782
  • The Mission advice workers: 01484 421 461
  • Kirklees Citizens Advice: 0344 848 7970

Advice leaflets

Do you need help to get food? (PDF)

More than a food bank (PDF)

 

Find out more

The Welcome Centre

How to get help from the Welcome Centre

 


We haven’t beaten the virus… yet

stay two metres apart where possible

Covid-19 is still in our communities. The only way to eliminate it is to stop it from spreading.

You can play your part by:

Staying 2 metres apart, washing your hands, staying away from crowds, wearing a face covering, isolating if you show symptoms and following instructions from the NHS Test and Trace.

You can also contribute to the gathering of local insight through this online form:

Gathering local insight about Coronavirus

It’s really helpful if as many people as possible can contribute their local insight.

You can also report unsafe practices, incidents or planned events through this online form:

Reporting an incident which increases the risk of spreading Coronavirus

 


Preventing an outbreak

We need your help to prevent the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19)

Download our advice posters

Kirklees Covid-19 advice posters (PDF)

 

Arabic poster (PDF)            اضغط هنا للغة العربية
Albanian poster (PDF)         klikoni këtu për shqip
Guajarati poster (PDF) ગુઆજરાતી માટે અહીં ક્લિક કરો 
Farsi poster (PDF)                برای فارسی اینجا را کلیک کنید
Hungarian poster (PDF)     Kattintson ide a Magyar
Kurdish poster (PDF)          لێرە كليك بكە بۆ كور د ى
Mandarin poster (PDF)      点击这里查看普通话 
Polish poster (PDF)             Kliknij tu, aby wybrać j. polski 
Romanian poster (PDF)     apăsați aici pentru limba română 
Spanish poster (PDF)         Pulse aquí para Español’ 
Urdu poster (PDF)              اردو کے لئے یہاں کلک کریں 

 

Coronavirus: Information in other languages

Covid-19 Translated information – Kirklees Welcomes blog

 

Art Workshops for mutual aid co-ordinators and volunteers

crafts

Crafty Home are inviting Mutual Aid Group co-ordinators and volunteers to attend a FREE art workshop. After a particularly intense time of helping and supporting your communities, what better way to relax, unwind and let your imagination run free?

Not artistic? Not a problem. This is a way of saying thank you for the amazing work you’ve done, to share in some downtime together, reflect, paint, draw or make.

You don’t have to be an artist to take part and the workshops are free of charge, but places are limited so please get in touch as soon as possible.

The first event for mutual aid co-ordinators and admins is on 25th July 2020 at the Piazza (Unit 16 next to USC shoe store) from 11.30am.

The second event for volunteers and those who couldn’t make to the first one is on 1st August 2020 form 11.30am, also at Unit 16 at the Piazza.

Find out more

Contact Patrycia: crafty.home@yahoo.com

Or call 07421 122314

www.facebook.com/almondbury

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Neighbourhood Watch – a way to keep helping your community stay safe

Nieghbourhood watch header

The outbreak of Covid-19 has presented many challenges but has demonstrated how neighbourhoods and communities have pulled together, kept an eye out for each other, and supported those who are not in a position to help themselves.

Forming a Neighbourhood Watch scheme in your neighbourhood is just one opportunity that local volunteers or mutual aid groups could move forward with, continuing the amazing work already done over the past few months.

Neighbourhood Watch schemes are far more than the old cliché of ‘nosy neighbours’ and there are number of ways they can impact positively in our communities. They can:

  • Support neighbours struggling with Covid-19 restrictions
  • Create safer neighbourhoods
  • Build community spirit and cohesion
  • Enhance partnerships with other community groups
  • Address issues relating to anti-social behaviour
  • Improve quality of life and the local environment
  • Provide valuable information to the police
  • Reassure people

There are lots of resources available to help.

Becoming part of the West Yorkshire Police Neighbourhood Watch network will keep you informed and more alert to what is happening around you, creating a safer neighbourhood.

Safer Kirklees would like to build on the close community relationships and have a commitment to work with communities to address quality of life issues. They believe local people are best placed to understand local needs and help find the solutions to support others.

Find out more

For more information, advice, or to share your ideas, please contact: Beverley.Fox2@westyorkshire.pnn.police.uk  or  Safer@kirklees.gov.uk 

More information about setting up a Neighbourhood Watch:

Setting up a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme