Shelley’s mutual aid story – looking out for each other

Shelley Village Hall

The story of Shelley village’s community response is about kindness, new connections and how Covid-19 has perhaps made us look at our local places in different ways. It’s a story that may be familiar to those who have been directly involved with their own mutual aid group.

Many people in our local places have benefitted from the actions of dedicated mutual aid group volunteers, who have helped to deliver essential supplies such as food shopping and prescriptions. When a potential lockdown began to look likely, it prompted some active residents of Shelley village to come together and form their own mutual aid group. We spoke to Ann Priestman from Shelley Community Association about how everything unfolded…

Ann“There was a core group of people from the village including the vicar, pub landlord, Brownie leader, leader of the mother and baby group and a resident who is a community first responder with the paramedics, along with several other active residents.

“Within just a couple of hours we had assigned roles. Two volunteers to coordinate and lead the response. Someone responsible for social media and the website. We knew it was important to communicate the offer of support to all residents, not just those online, so we developed a leaflet that could be delivered to every household.

“A group of eight volunteers were able to get out and deliver the leaflets and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Lockdown had just been announced and people were already feeling scared and concerned about how they would get food and prescriptions. The leaflet gave them reassurance that there was help in the local community.”

This was just the beginning of the community response from Shelley village. The landlord from the village pub set up a small farmers market so residents had access to fresh fruit and vegetables along with other produce. He also did deliveries to those who were shielding. The Brownies made happy postcards and painted rocks which they put around the village.

A call out for more help generated a whole team of extra volunteers. Over the next few weeks these volunteers delivered nearly 150 prescriptions and made almost 50 shopping deliveries. Ann explained that was not all, and the figures don’t necessarily reflect the reality.

“Once a volunteer had been matched to support a resident, future deliveries were often worked out between them. Volunteers also started to help residents with other things such as mowing lawns or tidying gardens. One couple even took a resident to all of her hospital appointments.”

The volunteer team also worked closely with the Denby Dale Centre, one of eight community anchor organisations across Kirklees, to help with some of the shopping requests.

“The Denby Dale Centre were great, particularly when residents could only pay for shopping using cash. The centre had a system in place which meant transactions could be done transparently for residents and the volunteers helping them.”

We asked what impact lockdown has had on Shelley village overall. Is there a sense that community links have strengthened? Ann explained her thoughts to us:

“People have been saying on Facebook and in conversation this is a great place to live and people are really thankful that they are getting help in their village. There is a sense that people are looking out for each other and their neighbours. People are talking to each other who they wouldn’t normally. They have connected and bonded.”

In October 2019 Ann was one of a group of volunteers leading the Ask Shelley conversations, which asked what life is like in Shelley village. Supported by the Democracy Service at Kirklees Council, Ask Shelley is one of a growing number of ongoing How Good Is Our Place activities in our local places. This programme of work recognises that citizens want to have more dialogue about what matters in our local places, and more of a voice in what happens here.

Ann told us that she thinks recent events will have changed how some people think about Shelley:

“During the Ask Shelley activities, some of the findings were a little negative about the village not having many facilities and some residents feeling that other surrounding villages had more to offer. I believe if the Ask Shelley engagement was carried out today it would be a lot more positive, as people have rediscovered their pride for the village.”

Volunteers in Shelley have been working on an action plan for the village, based on their conversations, which will be shared online soon.

Ask Shelley

 

Chickenley Community Centre’s community response

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.

In Dewsbury East, councillors have supported Chickenley Community Centre to provide food and other help for people in local places across the ward, including Chicklenley, Shaw Cross, Earlsheaton, Hanging Heaton and Dewsbury town centre.

Councillors knew that like a lot of other places in Kirklees, local communities would be affected by the coronavirus lockdown. They were asked by Chickenley Community Centre to support setting up a food bank, and have provided £5,000 of funding to the scheme. Among other things, the project is distributing food vouchers and food parcels across the ward.

In this short video we asked Paul Moore, Community Centre Development Worker, to tell us about their work. A small group of volunteers have made the project possible. Together with support from Kirklees Council, the One Community foundation and the Charities Aid Foundation, they are providing far more than food for local communities.

Ward project budgets – your councillors can help

Learn more about councillors

 

Growing Great Places – free workshops in July 2020

Growing Great Places montage

The community response in Kirklees to the Coronavirus has been incredible, with so many mutual aid and volunteer groups providing support to thousands of people across neighbourhoods and communities.

Through our Growing Great Places crowdfunding programme, Kirklees Council are offering support to local groups groups who have ideas for projects that can make our local places even better. If you and others in your neighbourhood have developed ideas over the past few months which you want to turn into a new project, this programme could well be the opportunity you’re looking for.

Pledges of up to £5,000 are available for successful crowdfunding campaigns.

Growing Great Places is run by Kirklees Council’s Democracy Service and our partners Spacehive. Spacehive are a crowdfunding platform working with local organisations on projects seeking to make neighbourhoods more sustainable, inclusive or accessible.

Take part in a free online workshop

If your volunteer group have an idea for a project in your local place, such as a community garden, pop-up market or cycle hub, Spacehive are hosting two free online project creator workshops where you can learn more.

For more details on how Growing Great Place works and how we can help you bring your projects to life, please register for your free place:

Wednesday 15th July – 12 noon

Wednesday 23rd July – 4pm

 

Find out more about Growing Great Places

Growing Great Places – community crowdfunding

Growing Great Places – Spacehive

 

Growing Great Places – community crowdfunding

Growing Great Places crowdfunding

We know that local places really matter to our citizens. People make places great.

Lots of new ideas for how we can support each other and stay connected have come from our towns, villages and neighbourhoods during Covid-19. Growing Great Places crowdfunding could be a way for you to get a great idea off the ground in your local place.

The programme is run by the Democracy service at Kirklees Council. We want everyone to be able to have a real stake in the places where we live, work or visit. By running a crowdfunding campaign with Growing Great Places, you’ll have the opportunity to involve backers in your project, spread the word, and connect with others who care about your local place.

How much can you crowdfund for?

You choose your own crowdfunding target. Kirklees Council and our partners at Spacehive are here to support you and make sure that your campaign has the best chance of succeeding. We offer lots of advice and support. If local people back your idea, groups could also receive a pledge of up to £5k of funding from Kirklees Council (and up to 2.5k for citizens).

Who can crowdfund?

Local organisations, informal groups and citizens can start a crowdfunding campaign. If you’re part of a mutual aid group without your own bank account, you may be able to work with a community organisation to run a crowdfunding campaign for your project.

What can be crowdfunded

Growing Great Places is for projects that bring people together to get involved in making our local places even better, through your local energy, skills, assets and creativity.

Kirklees Democracy

Find out more

We’re keen to hear from anyone who might like to start crowdfunding soon, so we can learn how to support you best. Please email: GrowingGreatPlaces@kirklees.gov.uk

Growing Great Places website

Blogs about Growing Great Places


hashtag lets pull together

Extra help for local campaigns

Both Kirklees Council and our partners at Spacehive are doing more to support groups who are crowdfunding at this time. Spacehive have waived their standard 5% fee until 20th June 2020 for projects who are raising funds during lockdown and are offering an extension of up to two months to give people more breathing space. Kirklees Council are being more flexible about the percentage of project costs that we can pledge to fund.

Spacehive have also relaxed their criteria so that organisations can crowdfund for running costs (so even if your project isn’t right for Growing Great Places, you could still run a campaign). You can find out more on the Spacehive website about how mutual aid groups and community organisations across the country are crowdfunding to support others during Covid-19.

Spacehive – Helping your community cope with COVID-19

 


How the Befriending Partnership are connecting people during lockdown and beyond

Lady talking on a mobile phone sitting at home.

The Befriending Partnership are helping to tackle isolation through a telephone service set up to support older people and vulnerable adults, as part of the community response during the coronavirus lockdown.

Volunteers who give their time to the Befriending Partnership are matched with citizens who are known to the organisations as needing contact, to make sure they are okay in their homes and to help reduce feelings of isolation.

The telephone befriending service is led by Community Connections at the Yorkshire Children’s Centre and Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees.

We spoke to Christine Rhodes, Service Manager for Community Connections, about how people have been making connections and helping each other during lockdown.

“In the last few weeks we have seen our volunteer numbers grow to 90, and we have made 56 matches to those who need befriending phone calls. Our volunteers spend between 2 to 4 hours a week on calls with vulnerable or isolated people. We try and match people with similar interests and in the same local areas, with the hope they will carry on befriending afterwards, hopefully face to face.

“Of the 90 volunteers we have at the moment, around 35 have been forwarded from Kirklees Council’s call for volunteers and from staff that have been furloughed from elsewhere. The other volunteers have come in from all areas and walks of life.

“Referrals for the service come in from the Covid-19 Community Response team, from the community anchor organisations network and also now from the mutual aid groups who are doing brilliant work all over Kirklees.”

The volunteers not only phone people to have a friendly chat, but also receive training from the Befriending Partnership to help identify if someone needs other kinds of support. You can read Mark’s story on the Volunteering Kirklees blog to find out more about the experience for volunteers.

Christine told us that, until recently, one person was getting their shopping delivered. The volunteer identified that this had stopped and was able to feedback this information via a new app the Befriending Service are using. This resulted in a referral being made, making sure that the person received the essential supplies they needed.

The service continues to grow and more people are being welcomed to volunteer. We know there are many compassionate people in Kirklees who are keen to offer friendly phone calls to others. We’ve asked the people who have volunteered to offer this kind of support via our Covid-19 Community Response whether we can share their details with the Befriending Partnership.

We’re delighted to say that this has already resulted in a surge of new volunteers. Training is provided for all volunteers and enhanced ID checks are carried out routinely to make sure we are keeping vulnerable people safe.

“The Befriending Service is very important and is still growing. We know this is true of other support services too. We’re very supportive of the Mutual Aid Group network and the amazing work they’re doing too. It’s all about making sure vulnerable people don’t fall through the gaps and we’re doing all we can.

“I hope the volunteers signed up to the Befriending Service now, will continue to volunteer when we come out of the other side. And I hope those volunteering elsewhere in their communities continue as well.”

If you are interested in being a Telephone Befriender with full training and support please email: befriendingpartnership@yccuk.org.uk

If you, or someone you know, would like telephone befriending support please let us know via our Covid-19 Community Response online form, or call our Freephone helpline: 0800 4561114.


Befriending Partnership members

Find out more about the Befriending Partnership

There are five organisations involved in the wider Befriending Partnership in Kirklees. During the Covid-19 Community Response, the specific telephone befriending service has been set up by the Yorkshire Children’s Centre and Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees. They are also working closely with the Royal Voluntary Service and some of the volunteers have been matched with people on their waiting lists too.

Yorkshire Children’s Centre

Age UK Calderdale & Kirklees

Royal Voluntary Service

Kirkwood Hospice

Locala

 

How Platform 1 are supporting people – and how you can help

Platform 1 we are here for you

Platform 1 are a local men’s health and addiction charity working with men who have lived in isolation due to their illness. During the coronavirus lockdown they are playing their part by reaching out to even more isolated and vulnerable people, including women and the elderly.

Bike hub

Platform 1 bike hubThrough their bike repair scheme, Platform 1 have been loaning bikes to NHS staff and other key workers who normally rely on public transport, so they can get to work.

Such has been the demand of their bicycle offer they are now struggling to provide any more bikes to key workers who need them.

Platform 1 urgently require donations of bikes, so they can continue to provide this service.

 

Crisis support

Other services that Platform 1 have been offering as part of their Covid-19 response include a freephone number 0800 066 2828 for anyone in crisis who needs a chat.

It’s understandable that we may feel anxious and stressed, especially now. Anxiety has many different symptoms and may affect how you behave both physically and mentally. Platform 1 are determined to continue to support people in different ways at this difficult time. They offer a free, non-judgemental, confidential service where you can talk one to one.

How you can help

There are a number of ways you can support Platform 1 to carry on their work in our communities.

  • Counsellors wanted – If you’re a level 3 trained counsellor, they could really use your help to support vulnerable people over the phone.
  • Make a donation – If you have a bike to donate, or can make a financial donation to help them carry on making bikes available to key workers, this would be gratefully welcomed.
  • Be a volunteer – If you think you can contribute by volunteering, they would love to hear from you.

Platform 1 can be contacted on the telephone 01484 421 143 or by email office@platform-1.co.uk

Find out more

You can find out more about Platform 1 by visiting their website or social media:

Platform 1 website

Platform 1 facebook group

Platform 1 twitter

Flowers from Clem's Garden

Spring cheer from Clem’s Garden & Mutual Aid Groups

Community spirit blooms in partnership with Kirklees mutual aid groups

Clem’s Garden are working with Lindley Covid Mutual Aid Group to brighten up the lives of local people in the area. Clem’s Garden CIC is a social enterprise in Huddersfield. It’s run by local volunteers who don’t have children or grandchildren to channel their care, skills and experience into. They work together to grow and sell flowers, supporting local charities and community projects with the profits.

Their locally grown flowers are included in essential deliveries of food and medicine for those neighbours who don’t have family around or at the end of the phone for support. The group are also supplying HRI staff with bunches of flowers, to show their love and support for NHS staff.

Golcar Mutual Aid Group’s Food Buddies are also working with Clem’s Garden, delivering beautiful bunches of flowers once a fortnight to those who are unable to leave the house.

The Clem’s Garden volunteers have also pitched in to help with writing letters for care home residents who feel isolated, as part of a project co-ordinated by Volunteering Kirklees.

Find out more & Get involved

Clem’s Garden welcome new participants, including adult volunteers who have their own family, as ‘Friends of Clem’s Garden’.

Clem’s Garden

Could you write a letter or draw a picture to brighten someone’s day?

Volunteer to be a letter writer

Find your local mutual aid group

Find your local group – Covid Mutual Aid UK

The Stocksmoor story – a real feel of togetherness

David Smith, Chair of Stocksmoor Village Association, has kindly shared his reflections about setting up a mutual aid group and being part of the Covid-19 Community Response 

We set up our Stocksmoor group on the announcement of lockdown and took the opportunity to register with Kirklees Council via the Covid-19 facebook page and council website. Having no previous experience of setting up this type of group or working with Kirklees Council in this type of setting, we didn’t know what to do or what to expect. We found that we were quickly helped to get set up as a Mutual Aid Group and then brought into the local family of aid groups across the borough through email communications and daily Zoom meetings.

The amount of information and activity flying around as a result of lockdown was immense. This is understandable because of the wide range of localities and individuals it has affected. We have been impressed by the way this information has been brought together and then disseminated to us together with the organising of the daily Zoom meetings (now bi-weekly). In the early period we were all learning from the Covid-19 Community Response team and other mutual aid admins. The meetings went on each day irrespective of the fact that they included bank holidays and weekends, to ensure that the groups were fully supported.

The leadership and management of the mutal aid admins and group meetings has been excellent, bringing a real feel of togetherness amongst us and helping us to share information whilst at the same time using that information to form good practice where relevant. The meeting follow up notes and actions have been excellent and this allows us to share that with our volunteers.

Staff absences, self isolation and illness has affected many organisations in this period and Kirklees Council will be no exception. Inevitably this leads to increased workloads even without the above mentioned activity. Not once has this visibly affected the output from the Covid-19 Community Response team. Whilst it would be justifiable, we haven’t (and hopefully won’t!) had staff shortages put forward when waiting for actions to come back down the line. For us this demonstrates a great working attitude and aptitude and indirectly demonstrates great empathy needed when supporting so many volunteers by meeting us “where we are” – which is to say, being really keen to be effective in our roles.

Please keep up the good work and we look forward to our next meeting.

 

How to connect with other mutual aid groups

Ways to stay connected

 

Find out more about Stocksmoor

Stocksmoor Village Association

Stocksmoor Village Association facebook

Stocksmoor Village Association twitter

Stocksmoor Village Association instagram

 

Wellbeing resources from S2R

support to recovery

S2R are creating lots of helpful online resources to help our wellbeing, creativity and connection with the outdoors. We encourage you have a look at what’s on offer and share this post with people in your area who might find it helpful. You can also connect with S2R on social media.


‘How to’ videos & workshops

Video guides to making things at home, including bird feeders, handmade paper and wild garlic pesto, and looking after your wellbeing.

How to

From 18th May 2020 there will also be a series of free online ‘How to’ workshops, starting with:

  • Eat Well & Save Pounds
  • Sew Simple
  • Nature Drawing
  • Song Writing

How to


50 Days Nature Challenge

Nature is good for our mental health and wellbeing. Each day s2R are sharing easy and simple activities or tasks for you to try at home, in the garden or out and about where possible.

50 Days Nature Challenge


Wellbeing Packs

It can be difficult to connect with others, remain engaged and stay motivated during this challenging time. These Wellbeing Packs are designed around the 5 Ways to Wellbeing, which is a nationally recognised initiative that aims to keep you fit and healthy by concentrating on 5 key elements.

Wellbeing Packs


Connect with S2R

S2R website

S2R Facebook

Email: Contact@s2r.org.uk

Ward project budgets – your councillors can help

Putting councillors at the heart

Kirklees Council have made more money available for councillors to help organisations and groups support people in our local places during the Covid-19 pandemic. £30,000 of extra funding is now available for each ward (which is a local place that 3 councillors represent) through their Ward Project Budgets. Please make contact with your local councillors if you are part of a group or project in need of urgent funding to support people in your local place during the coronavirus outbreak.

How much can you apply for?

There are no fixed limits – the funding is decided by your local councillors. You’ll be asked to supply a breakdown of costs, including any other contributions made through grants, fundraising or volunteering

Who can apply?

  • Registered charities
  • Constituted community and voluntary organisations
  • Mutual aid groups who are working with an Anchor organisation
  • Town and Parish Councils
  • Faith organisations
  • Schools
  • Local businesses wishing to deliver charitable support

What can be funded?

A few examples of what can be funded include:

  • Existing and new groups supporting vulnerable people who are self-isolating.
  • Befriending groups that provide support for people in isolation.
  • Groups that support the health and wellbeing of vulnerable people.
  • Organisations that provide advice and support about employment and welfare benefits.
  • Support with equipment and materials so that community support can be delivered safely.
  • Help with running costs such as volunteer expenses and transport costs.

Please contact your councillors to discus your ideas.

Find your councillors

Find your ward