Domestic abuse organisations have seen increased household tension and domestic violence due to lockdown restrictions, economic stress and fears about the Coronavirus. Increased isolation could also create an increase in abuse.
It is timely that Yorkshire Children’s Centre can announce they have launched their new telephone helpline for perpetrators of domestic abuse: “I need help to stop” – 07849 398711.
Support is available for those who wish to address their abusive behaviour to improve the lives of their partners, ex-partners and children. Domestic abuse includes physical violence, emotional abuse or any other form of coercive control.
The helpline is anonymous and confidential and provides guidance, support and advice in developing healthy relationships. If agreeable, callers can also gain further support through an online webchat session.
It’s only in recent times that stories of the Windrush Generation have begun to be shared more widely, as an important part of British history. Since 2018 there has been an official Windrush Day to acknowledge and celebrate not only the journeys made from the Caribbean but also the cultural impact the Windrush Generation made, which has so enriched our local communities.
The 22nd June is Windrush Day and whilst planned local events and exhibitions can’t go ahead, this hasn’t stopped a range of partners collaborating on an e-resource pack, which is full of useful information.
This online pack includes history and facts, stories and recollections, book recommendations and reviews for both adults and children.
You can find out how to become a member of the Kirklees Libraries, which will then give you access to a special collection of e-books with stories, biographies, cookery and poetry.
The pack also contains lots of links to fun activities, with access to resources for making decorations, traditional Caribbean cooking recipes and crafts.
Interested in music? You can also find out about the huge contribution the Windrush Generation has made to popular music.
The online resources have been brought to you by the Jamaica National Council Huddersfield, the BAME Network and the West Yorkshire Archive Service.
The challenges people have faced over the last few months have not fazed or diminished our sense of community. Neighbourliness is thriving week after week in our local places, where we’re helping each other and finding new ways of connecting.
A way we can all celebrate community and neighbourliness is by joining in with the Great Get Together, which takes place from 19th to 21st June 2020. Whilst there won’t be any public gatherings or large events this year, we can all reach out across the weekend with acts of compassion and connection in a safe way to celebrate the power of community.
On your street
Here are just a few of the fun activities you could help arrange with neighbours on your street over the weekend:
Community singalong: pick a song, share lyrics, and schedule a time to step outside and sing together.
Have your own Bake-Off: bake and present your masterpiece to your community for judging
Share a garden: grow one type of vegetable and get the community to do the same. Share what you grow and perhaps use it to make the same recipe.
Design a Treasure Hunt (think of things to hide in your windows and gardens that children could find on their daily walks).
Wishing Trees: encourage everyone to leave a wish for the future.
Community recipe book: share a recipe per household and create a recipe book.
There are lots more ideas on the Great Get Together website:
More in Common Batley & Spen are part of the Jo Cox Foundation and remain the key partner in organising the Great Get Together. The group works year round to build strong and compassionate communities where everyone has a sense of identity and belonging. They are also a vital part of the community response in Kirklees, as one of our community anchor organisations.
There will be a More In Common assembly for schools in collaboration with a number of local head teachers on Friday 19th June. On Saturday 20 June, a regular Community Service event goes virtual with a community quiz to follow. Details of how to watch and take part in these, and many other events organised locally in the community will be shared on social media channels.
There is a planned digital art projection in Dewsbury town centre, featuring the work of artist, Ian Berry and messages of thanks, thoughts, hopes and prayers from people across Kirklees. Ian’s work and shared local images will be projected onto a building in Dewsbury town centre, on the evening of Friday 19th June after dark. The public are not being encouraged to attend in view of social distancing. Instead, a film will be created that will be shared on social media platforms. There is also a longer term plan for an outdoor exhibition to support the re-opening of local towns following lockdown.
Run for Jo
On Sunday 21st June people across the country are being encouraged to take part in the Run for Jo by doing a 2.5km or 6.5km run in their own community. Hundreds of people are also training for the run on the Strava running community.
It is important to remember that this week is also Loneliness Awareness Week. You might want to consider doing something to make sure those neighbours who are more isolated or unable to participate outside can remain a part of your community. Here are a few virtual activities you can organise:
Take a walk for someone who can’t – call someone isolated on your daily walk and describe what you see, smell, hear and feel.
Organise a telephone tree to reach those most isolated.
Call an old friend.
Host an album listening party.
Have a virtual Open Mic night.
Loneliness Awareness Week
Loneliness Awareness Week is about encouraging people to speak about it openly and understand loneliness, one conversation at a time.
Loneliness can be difficult to talk about. It’s hard for people to say sometimes that they feel lonely. It shouldn’t be, but it is. The last few weeks in lockdown will potentially have highlighted to some of us what loneliness is who haven’t previously given it a second thought. There are others who may well have felt lonely even before lockdown.
Writing something to share that dwelled on all the effects loneliness can have on our mental and physical wellbeing didn’t feel quite appropriate. What so many Mutual Aid Groups, volunteers and neighbours have been doing over the last few weeks is a demonstration that loneliness and isolation is being tackled, that we are aware and collectively we are doing something about it.
Tackling loneliness may have been disguised as the shopping you’ve done for a vulnerable neighbour, or picking up that prescription from the pharmacy, because the other part of that action is the conversation you’ve had with those people and making sure they’re okay. Small human interactions can make all the difference.
How many of you have seen or helped out celebrating an older person’s birthday who lives on your street? How many of you have clapped for carers on a Thursday evening, then exchanged words with neighbours you haven’t really talked to before?
The actions of groups, volunteers, friends and neighbours have helped to reduce isolation, and have demonstrated the caring nature of people and communities. Together we’ve done that.
Yet there is still a need for vigilance and awareness beyond our own neighbourhoods. There is always potential for individuals to fall through the gaps, but there are also local volunteer befriending services who do amazing work to catch those people.
The challenge for us all will be to maintain our neighbourliness beyond lockdown and to keep talking to each other, to keep visiting those who may be more vulnerable, whether that’s an older person or someone who you know that isn’t as socially mobile as they would like to be.
You might have been inspired yourself to sign up to be a volunteer at the befriending service, or know someone who you think might want to do that. We should all encourage that as an option. But we should all keep doing what we’re doing.
If you want to read more about the Befriending Partnership in Kirklees, read our blog:
There’s a chance that even after the coronavirus lockdown ends, the way we communicate, interact with one another and learn will have changed significantly. You may have already become more familiar with tools like Zoom to video call your family and friends, but what about using digital tools for work as well?
Thornton Lodge Action Group have teamed up with the Good Things Foundation and Google to offer a chance for individuals to gain digital skills using a range of online tools. They are offering free training to explore using video tools for meetings, apps for managing projects and tips on how to adapt to remote working.
The opportunity to access this digital learning is open to everyone. Whether you’re employed, unemployed, furloughed or self-employed, everyone is eligible.
You will be able to learn at your own pace and as it is all online you can do this from your own home.
If you’re unsure about what you want to learn or where to start, a member of staff from Thornton Lodge Action Group will call you to complete an initial 5 minute questionnaire to help set you off in the right direction, focused on the area of the digital world you’re most interested to learn about.
How to begin your digital learning journey
If you have an idea of what you want to learn already, you can dive straight in by visiting:
At a time when we can’t get together and access all the usual training and learning opportunities we’re so used to, more of us are relying on the internet. To help people keep learning, Fusion Housing’s community learning service is now available online.
Fusion offers support to people who need a helping hand to get them into work and would like to try learning something new. They have redesigned their very popular Cooking, Nutrition and Health & Wellbeing courses so that they can continue to provide learning to Kirklees residents during the Coronavirus lockdown.
The Fusion Learning Team have several courses where you can learn skills for cooking healthy food and ways to improve your physical health and wellbeing. Here’s a brief outline of what’s on offer.
‘Come Dine With Me’ Healthy Eating Course
Not only does this course help you plan and cost nutritionally balanced meals, it teaches practical kitchen skills too.
This course is 4 hours a week and runs for 7 weeks.
Fit For Life
Helping you understand fitness and wellbeing and moving toward a healthier lifestyle, this course explores new and different ways you can exercise. You can measure your own fitness levels and make your way to being a healthier you.
This course runs for 4 weeks.
Healthy Eating and Cooking Workshop
This short course is designed to give you insight to a balanced diet and the importance of it, how to eat healthily and how to cost a meal.
This short course runs for 4 hours.
‘£1 meal makers’
Learn how to save money and cook tasty, healthy meals.
This course runs for 4 weeks.
Bread and Budget
This is a bread making course for adults, where you can also learn a bit about budgeting.
How to join
If you have a laptop, a tablet or a smart phone, and you want to join any of these courses, telephone 01484 532280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
As challenging a time as it continues to be at the moment, keeping our minds healthy is perhaps one of the most important things we can do. It can also be one of the most difficult challenges we face. Creative activity can often play a role in meeting this challenge. Creative Minds, part of the NHS South West Yorkshire Partnership, help fund a number of creative projects.
The latest edition of the Creative Kirklees newsletter is testament to just how much creative activity continues to happen in spite of the challenges we’re all facing. Here are just three examples of projects happening in Kirklees.
‘Budding Up Together’from Growing Works focuses on mental wellbeing and physical health. The project involves activities such as gardening tips, advice and nature interests. While access and connections happen virtually through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and their website, there is also the physical maintenance of community gardens to be enjoyed, in line with social distancing guidelines. The project is available to anyone using NHS South West Yorkshire Partnership services. The project is run by the Growing Works charity and they can be contacted by email email@example.com or by phoning Rachel on 07845 415289 or through their website:
Wellbeing packs from Support To Recovery (S2R) are full of creative activities, instructions and useful information to reduce isolation during Covid-19 lockdown. There are physical packs available, but the resources can also be accessed online. To find out more about this and other projects you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or see our blog post:
‘It’s Okay to Wave’ from Satellite Arts is all about movement, songs and drama sessions using enjoyable joining in material from Xylosound. The sessions will be available on YouTube and DVD. The focus of these sessions is to help adults with learning needs to keep themselves mentally and physically active during lockdown. The project is run by Satellite Arts and they can be contacted by emailing email@example.com or phoning Andy on 01484 848072 or through their website:
There are lots of other projects happening in Kirklees as part of Creative Minds. Have a look at their latest newsletter to see them all, find out who can access the projects and who to contact for more detail.
At times of stress and change our self-confidence can easily be affected. Motivation can be hard to come by. During our time in lockdown because of coronavirus, we need opportunities to keep our minds active and focused.
Fortunately Crosland Moor Community Learning Centre are providing exactly those opportunities and over the next several weeks are providing a range of free online courses to support people’s personal development.
There are lots of opportunities for you to learn something new, including:
How to use Zoom effectively for communicating with friends or in work meetings
Work it Out – skills for confidence and positivity
Developing digital skills for working in an office
Food Hygiene training (level 2)
Progress yourself – Looking at next steps and how to get there
How to take part
You can find out more about these courses on the Crosland Moor Community Learning Centre website . If there is something there that takes your fancy you can sign-up using the enrolment button and complete your details using the online form:
Guide Dogs have put together some suggestions about basic communication principles to consider when you’re interacting with people who have sight loss. This doesn’t replace or override general guidance or policies about supporting people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The advice is intended to support those who are working or volunteering with blind and partially sighted people for the first time.
You can read these suggestions on the Guide Dogs website: