Can you make a difference in your community by tackling misinformation? Can you help encourage people in your local community to take part in the vaccination programme?
Through the Community Champions scheme voluntary organisations will deliver a wide range of measures to protect those most at risk – building trust, communicating accurate health information and ultimately helping to save lives. The Community Champions will tap into their local networks to provide advice about COVID-19 and the vaccines.
Funding is available now for community groups to apply to the Community Champions fund.
Community organisations have until Monday 1st March 2021 to submit their application to round 1 of the grant scheme.
You can download the Community Champions application form online. See the Kirklees Together blog for more information:
Round 2 of the grant scheme, which is due to go live in the coming weeks, will be open for smaller grants of up to £1000. Community groups can apply for this money to develop their own targeted campaigns to help reach communities in all of our local places.
If you’re in the process of trying to re-open your community building safely, please take a few minutes to read through the latest guidance. We’ve included links to Government updates and an example risk assessment document.
The Government have updated the rules for social distancing for meeting people indoors and outdoors.
From 14th September 2020, people from different households must not meet in groups of more than 6, either indoors or outdoors. This limit does not apply to meetings of a single household group or support bubble which is more than 6 people.
If you live in an area subject to local restrictions, we continue to advise that you should not:
socialise with people who you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble, in any public venue. This applies to inside and outside of the affected areas. Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions and parks.
visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to exceptional circumstances only.
The ‘rule of 6’ doesn’t apply to local restriction areas. Community centres within areas that are under local restriction should take steps to make sure people do not socialise with people who they do not live with, in line with Covid-19 secure guidance.
In areas where there are local restrictions, risk assessment is key. This might mean it is not viable for you to open your community building. Nurseries running from community centres are subject to the government guidance on early years settings.
If you are in an area where there are no local restrictions, community facilities can host more than 6 people in total, but no-one should visit or socialise in a group of more than 6 – and you must follow the Covid-19 secure guidelines and ensure you have the appropriate risk assessments.
Government links and example risk assessment
Updated, 15th September 2020
The Government have updated their guidance for community facilities since we published this post. This new guidance says that activities and social groups where there is a significant likelihood of groups mixing and socialising (and where it will be difficult to prevent mingling and therefore breaking the law) should not take place in a community facility.
We encourage you to read Section 3c in this latest Government guidance for community facilities:
People who are using Covid-19 secure community facilities should limit their social interactions with anyone who they do not live with. Where activities have 6 or more people participating (where it is safe to do so and capacity permits) it is important for all parties to maintain social distancing, 2 metres or 1 metre apart, with actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission (where 2 metres is not viable) between households. You should encourage the use of face coverings and good hand hygiene on entering premises and throughout a person’s visit.
Most community buildings can continue to open, provided that you follow the guidance. However, if direct social interaction is key to the activity (and if the activity is not a support group such as victim support or mental health groups) then you probably shouldn’t be doing it.
Gatherings of over 30 in public outdoor space are not allowed in Kirklees at this time.
Please feel free to use this risk assessment as learning to support you to complete your own risk assessments:
Third Sector Leaders Kirklees are a local charity who support and represent charities, community and groups, and social enterprises anywhere in Kirklees. They have been working incredibly hard to support local organisations and informal groups during Covid-19 and are keen for you to know what free support is available for groups in all our local places. Groups and organisations do not need to become members in order to access this free support.
TSL Kirklees offer a free volunteer matching service. The TSL Kirklees Volunteering team (formerly known as Volunteering Kirklees) work with organisations to develop their volunteering programmes and opportunities. They can promote volunteering opportunities from local groups via their volunteering website:
Organisations can get involved in various TSL Kirklees projects which are designed to fill gaps in service and delivery and support communities. TSL Kirklees have some small pots of funding that groups can access to try out new ideas and activity in their local place.
TSL Kirklees membership – free to April 2021
In addition to all the free support on offer, any group or organisation can choose to become a member in order to help lead and promote the voluntary and community sector in Kirklees.
The benefits of membership include access to a Members Area on the TSL Kirklees website where groups can:
Add their own news and updates (these will appear on the TSL Kirklees website and will also be shared via email updates and social media)
Add job vacancies to the jobs board (again, these will be shared with the network)
Find member offers
Find details of other members
Join a members-only Facebook group
Members can also take part in additional networking meetings and will receive extra communications.
In March 2020, TSL Kirklees offered 3 months free membership to support local organisations who might be struggling financially during Covid-19. This offer has since been extended twice. The free membership offer is now available until April 2021.
Regular membership costs are:
£12 per year for micro or start-up organisations
£36 per year for any other organisations
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 21st August 2020 to share your personal experiences:
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.
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.
Staying connected really matters for us all, now more than ever. It’s important that everyone can find out what support is available and have easy ways of keeping in touch. But not everyone has access to the internet to help with this, and not everyone feels confident using digital ways of communicating. We want to work out how, between us, we can best help with that.
Kirklees Council are working to find ways of supporting people, by removing any barriers to accessing the internet. This may be through providing IT devices. But it’s also important that we find ways of supporting people in using, or starting to use, digital technology.
Mutual Aid Groups and community organisations are incredibly well placed to support this project as you know the neighbourhoods and people in the areas where you live and work. So we are hoping that you might be able to work with us to develop this offer.
Volunteers in your group might be able to support others with growing their digital skills and confidence. This might include helping people to get started with using a digital device, connecting with family or friends, doing online shopping or accessing advice and services online. Or you might be part of an organisation who could share smartphones, tablets or other devices with people in our local places.
Together we can have a fantastically positive effect in increasing connectivity in our communities during Covid-19, but also as we move past the pandemic into the future.
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.
Through 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.
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.
Zoom (whom many of us had probably never heard of a few months ago) is an online platform for meetings, chats and conferencing , enabling us to keep connected at this time.
If you’re part of a community group or organisation in Kirklees and want to learn more about using Zoom, you can join in one of these 45 minute interactive sessions delivered by James Bulley (Calder IT), who is donating his time to run these sessions for Volunteering Kirklees.
Due to the interactive nature of these sessions, places are limited to a maximum of 10 attendees, but there are regular sessions to choose from. If you book on and then find yourself unable to attend, then please do cancel your place to allow another group in Kirklees to take part.
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.