On this page, we are sharing case studies and good news stories from the Community Hubs in Wakefield District, which have been set up to provide support and help to the vulnerable in our communities during the Coronavirus outbreak.
Wrenthorpe Community Hub - W & K Assist
The aim of W & K Assist is to provide food and support to residents in Wrenthorpe and surrounding areas, during this time of crisis. The hub is operating out of Wrenthorpe Village Hall.
By the end of w/e 24 April, the Community Hub had logged 400 calls for service, including pharmacy collection, shopping, food bank deliveries and telephone support. In the coming days, W & K Assist saw an acceleration of that and they had over 40 calls which were mostly food bank requests.
Thanks also to a kind donation of £500 of meat, cheese and ready meals, the hub has been able to send food parcels to very vulnerable people. The hub had a referral from Wakefield Council regarding a gentleman with three children, who is in a great deal of pain from cancer and is sleeping constantly due to chemotherapy. His oven had broken and he didn't have a microwave, so following a discussion, W & K Assist purchased a microwave for the gentleman and sent some easy to make meals.
Another family relies on their parents for help but they are ill and the child needed new clothing, so the hub purchased some essentials and sourced food from the Village Hall.
W & K Assist also delivered food and ready meals to a gentleman who lost his partner a few months ago, he can't cook himself and is so depressed that he cried on the phone. When the volunteer delivered the food. As well as food, they provided him with some puzzle books as he struggles to watch TV, and he has been assigned with a telephone buddy who is a trained counsellor.
Another lady had spent all her money on electricity as her timer had stopped working so she had to use the electric immersion heater. The hub delivered food and also sent a plumber to repair the timer, which he did free of charge.
Westfield Centre South Elmsall
South Elmsall Town Council and South Elmsall Community Facilities Ltd are providing community support to those who need it in their community.
The Town Council and South Elmsall Community Facilities Ltd have been providing daily isolation meals to residents, particularly the elderly and vulnerable members of the community.
The organisations are also providing assistance with basic shopping and medication, and are working towards providing emergency food parcels to those who are most in need, and the families who are facing extreme hardship.
Barriers that the organisations have faced:
- Sourcing PPE - and at reasonable prices
- Getting financial support for the food parcels from other organisations
The organisations have received positive feedback from the community by way of leaving comments on their social media pages, sending thank you cards to the office, and telephoning staff to express their appreciation.
One elderly lady who suffers from COPD, and who only had the support of her nephew up until he died of Covid-19 very recently, said that the hub is now her only support and without their services she would be completely isolated and alone.
"Thank you so much - greatly appreciate your help and food"
"Just to say a big thank you for our meals especially the pudding - compliments to the chef, all the staff and the very cheerful delivery lady and van driver".
St George's Community Centre
St George’s has been in existence for over 20 years providing a range of community-based activities.
In response to the Coronavirus crisis, St George's has shifted their activities in response to the needs of their community and Key Workers, by becoming a Community Hub, and providing:
- Childcare - for children of Key Workers and those considered vulnerable at Childcare @ Broadway
- Food bank – providing food parcels for people in need by extending from 1 day to 5 days per week
- Shopping – for those who are self-isolating but can pay
- Medication – collecting and delivering medication
- Telephone Befriending – St George's is in contact with up to 30 people per week who had previously engaged in their services.
- Virtual Youth Cafe – The centre's Youth Workers are supporting young people though a closed Facebook group, one-to-one video calls and delivering activity packs - helping to provide emotional wellbeing and safeguarding support.
Barriers that St George's initially had, but have now overcome, include:
- Communication – Initially, St George's was unsure of what was required of them and what the demand from the community would be and how their response was going to be delivered. St George's also felt there was a lack of co-ordination across partners, and has stated: "Great thanks must go to Nova for their support in unpicking the communication channels with partners and peers".
- Volunteers - At the beginning of the Coronavirus response, St George's did not have sufficient volunteers as many of their existing team are over 70 or were self-isolating. This was overcome by advertising on the Volunteer Wakefield website and recruiting new ones specifically for the COVID-19 Community Response. Many of the volunteers stated that "they wanted to do something to help and make a difference in these difficult times". St George's now has a bank of 35 volunteers for the Community Hub work.
- Marketing - In order to share good news stories whilst having limited time to do so, St George's has arranged weekly ‘good news team meetings’ once a week, to devote time to sharing the great work that is taking place and scheduling social media posts.
- Food Bank – The food bank at St George's was run by the Church there, prior to Coronavirus, so St George's has had to quickly learn how to run the food bank, source supplies, manage stock, etc. Peer support has helped with this.
Telephone befriending is going really well, and St George's knows this because people always comment on the difference it makes to their day. They have provided information in the form of signposting to various websites and organisations, often helping to reassure people that they are doing the right thing. One lady said: "it's just so nice to know that you are thinking about me and making the time to contact me for a chat, thank you".
The Food Bank at St George’s has always been run by the Church in partnership with the Community Centre on a Tuesday, and since this has been expanded, St George's is delighted that the system is working and their team of volunteers is working on a rota basis to ensure that parcels and shopping deliveries are made twice per day. St George's Volunteer Co-ordinator said: "It’s been very encouraging to have so many people offer their time during this crisis".
Since week one of the Community Hub work, St George's has been shopping for a self-isolating couple who are both in their 80s, who can afford to pay but do not have any support. They have become friends of St George’s, and St George's said: "We look forward to our weekly chat and order, which amongst other things often includes a little tipple of Cinzano! Life goes on!"
Eastmoor Community Project
Eastmoor Community Project works with their community, supporting people to gain confidence, self esteem and resilience; tackling health and wellbeing inequalities and issues, including mental health; supporting isolated and lonely community members and elderly; working with children and young people including holiday projects; refugees and people new to English; facilitating adult education including ESOL and basic skills.
Under normal circumstances, Eastmoor Community Project operates groups and sessions for all sections of their community including - elderly, children and young people, isolated, vulnerable mums to be. The Centre operates a community cafe, drop in help and support, community IT and nursery.
Due to Coronavirus and the lockdown restrictions, none of Eastmoor's normal activities are currently taking place in the Centre, so people who are isolated, worried or vulnerable are facing even more challenging situations. People are unable to visit the centre, join in their usual groups and sessions, meet friends, have a chat, talk with staff at the centre, enjoy a healthy meal – at low cost.
Those affected are likely to be elderly, lonely, anxious, lone parents, people on low incomes, people with learning difficulties, carers and young people.
Eastmoor Community Project understands that their community needs to feel connected, supported, and confident that they are not alone. They need to know that advice and a friendly chat are still available through their community centre, even though it cannot be face to face, that they will not be left without food and that they are not alone.
Therefore, Eastmoor Community Project has become a Community Hub whilst the Coronavirus outbreak is happening. The support provided by Eastmoor to their vulnerable community includes:
- Keeping in contact
- Ensure older and vulnerable people have essential supplies
- Ensure people know where to call if they need help – and ensuring that help is provided
- Support families – particularly vulnerable families
- Delivering emergency food parcels
- Collecting and delivering shopping to those able to pay
- Collecting and delivering medication
- Liaising with surgeries and pharmacies
- Befriending telephone service
- Newspaper deliveries
- Printing services
- Co-ordinating and supporting volunteers
- Loan of digital equipment – four tablets to care homes via Carers Wakefield, two tablets to young people
- Topping up electricity meter cards
- Zoom groups for young people
- Online competitions
- Quizzes and suggestions for family entertainment posted on Facebook
Eastmoor received a call from a distressed Mum. The Mum had no food for her 2 year old who has had open heart surgery and needed high fat content food. They were able to pay. Eastmoor provided the Mum with an emergency food parcel for overnight and contacted her again the next day. Then Eastmoor passed the Mum on to St. Catherine’s, another Community Hub, for food shopping.
Eastmoor also delivered shopping to local older couple who are self isolating. The receipt for the shopping came to £37.58. When the shopping was delivered, the envelope they left in payment contained £300.00 – the remainder of which, after paying for shopping, they wanted to be used for the community and whoever might be in need. This couple therefore made a difference to many members of the community.
Eastmoor arranged for a newspaper to be delivered on a Saturday to an older person, which came with a TV Guide. Although this seems a small gesture, it had a massive positive impact on them, as it enabled him to plan his week ahead. - “My daughter said it wasn’t vital, but it is, it allows me to have something to look forward to in the coming week".