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.
The community response to Covid-19 in Kirklees has been amazing. We want to thank everyone who is helping others to stay safe, to access food and essential supplies such as medication, and to stay connected. We also want to make this vital support as accessible as possible for everyone who needs it, as well as supporting our dedicated partner organisations, mutual aid groups and volunteers.
As part of our commitment to make it as easy as possible for us all to support each other, Kirklees Council have introduced a Freephone number for the Covid-19 Community Response helpline: 0800 4561114. The helpline is open 7 days a week, from 8am to 6pm on weekdays and from 10am to 4pm on weekends and bank holidays. The local number for the helpline, 01484 226919 will continue to be available, and we will happily call people back. Both numbers are answered by the same team. This is not a new service – the advice and support will be the same on both lines.
Anyone who cannot currently get essential help directly from friends, relatives or neighbours can contact Covid-19 Community Response via Freephone 0800 4561114 or online. Volunteers and local organisations can also contact the freephone helpline to make a request on behalf of someone who they are concerned about.
Kirklees Council’s staff and our partners, voluntary organisations, mutual aid groups and volunteers are all working together in local places across Kirklees to respond to requests for help.
Do Something Now – Covid-19 Response is a community investment opportunity to help communities respond to the challenges facing Kirklees as a result of Covid-19. Kirklees Council want to support local people, community groups, Mutual Aid Groups and community organisations to provide essential support and services to local people who have been affected.
How much can you apply for?
Individuals can apply for up to £200
Unconstituted groups can apply for up to £1,000
Constituted groups, charities and not for profit organisations can apply for up to £50,000
Funding awards will be for a maximum of 3 months support, with an option to extend if necessary.
What can be funded?
We are prioritising ideas and projects that:
help individuals, children and families get access to food and essential supplies such as medicines
provide support around mental health, emotional and social wellbeing
Keeping critical services going, and other projects and ideas, may also be considered for funding.
Help towards running costs for organisations
We will consider funding running costs for groups and organisations who are responding to Covid-19, which might include:
Recruiting and training volunteers who are helping with the Covid-19 response.
Building costs such as rent, gas and electricity for new sites used as part of the response.
Costs towards capital items may also be considered.
We want to do more to show the amazing work that everyone is doing as part of the co-ordinated Community Response in Kirklees. This includes pictures of local organisations, mutual aid groups, councillors, staff and volunteers. Please send us any photos that you are happy for us to use to help promote the Community Response to Covid-19 in Kirklees.
Share your photos
What we’re looking for:
Photos of people or activities
Landscape format photos are best
Please get consent from any people who are in the photo
Photos that you’re happy to be published on the web, including social media
Please send your photo, along with a short description (including who is in the photo) to:
Please also confirm that we have your permission to share your photo. We may use your photo on Kirklees Council web pages, on social media or in email bulletins. We may also share your photo with trusted partner organisations who are helping to promote our work.
Got a story to tell?
If you have a story about the response to Covid-19 in your local place that you would like to share, please get in contact with Diane Calverley.
Email: email@example.com or call 07966 248959.