13 projects have been awarded funding through the recent Live Well Wakefield Small Grants – Coronavirus Resilience Fund.

Historically, the main objectives of the grant fund have been supporting the principles of the Live Well service through providing local services/activities that are engaging, accessible and meet the needs of people within their communities.

With the challenges posed by Covid-19, the decision was taken to open the grant fund to proposals that allowed VCS organisations to continue to support the overarching aims of the service during this challenging time.

Grants were allocated on the basis of identified need that supported the aim of working differently to continue to deliver wellbeing support during the coronavirus pandemic.

We received a great response and had to make some difficult decisions. A brief overview of the 13 projects that were awarded funding can be found below.

The Live Well Wakefield Small Grants Fund is funded by Wakefield Council, and funding is allocated via the grants panel, which involves colleagues from Nova, Wakefield Council, SWYPFT and a nominated Community Anchor.

Age UK Wakefield District

Age UK Wakefield District will use the funding to:

  • cover additional volunteer expenses in delivering the Coronavirus Internal Bluebell shopping scheme;
  • develop an online volunteer recruitment process;
  • develop a Well-being Pack specifically for older people, containing self-management tips, ideas for activities and psychoeducation about managing anxiety.

Beat Autism

Beat Autism supports families on the Autistic Spectrum. The funding will enable the organisation to:

  • keep in contact with families at least every other day (daily or more often if needed);
  • set up regular Zoom coffee mornings and Dads 'virtual meeting' sessions (giving both parents chance to talk and off load independently);
  • prepare bespoke visual timetables, 'Now and Then' boards and activity packs for the families that are needing them;
  • help and share activities with the families; send out weekly 'put a smile on their face' letters, cards etc to parents with encouragement and praise.

Eastmoor Community Project Ltd

The funding will enable St Swithun’s Community Centre to be able to deliver the following activities and services for 10 weeks ensuring the most vulnerable in the Eastmoor community are supported:

  • further develop its phone contact list of lonely and vulnerable people, and organise volunteer “phoners”;
  • support food and essential supplies distribution to the vulnerable and isolated;
  • ensure social media is up to date and populated with info, daily activities etc;
  • help people access social media;
  • distribute “contact cards” – offering contact number for support;
  • organise and support volunteers.

Five Towns Christian Fellowship

Five Towns Christian Fellowship will use the funding to equip and train current volunteers to be able to deliver online adult-based wellbeing groups that will help ensure people don’t feel alone whilst also offering tools to help them during this time. The groups will ensure that social isolation doesn’t mean social disconnection and will be a supportive space for people who are feeling overwhelmed, offering self-management tools. The groups will be facilitated in a peer mentoring style, and will cover a whole range of issues from anxiety, disappointment, loss and resilience.

Incredible Edible Wakefield Ltd

Incredible Edible Wakefield Ltd will use the funding to prepare and post out an additional 360 #StayatHomeandGrowYourOwn seed packs to people that are self-isolating. This will bring the total number of seed packs prepared and posted to 630; comprising 2790 mini seed packs and over 28000 seeds.

Luv2meetU CIC

Luv2meetU CIC will use the funding to deliver a programme of 5-7 social activities per week that people with learning disabilities and/or autism who are lonely and socially isolated can access online, alongside telephone support, mailings, teleconferencing and emails. This will benefit the organisations existing 35 members, and it will actively seek to offer this support to the wider community of adults with learning disabilities and/or autism in Wakefield. This new programme of support will help stop isolation, and ensure members are active, able to learn new skills and feel part of a community.

Open Country

The funding will enable Open Country to establish a telephone Befriending service for its most vulnerable members in Wakefield who are people with disabilities, mental ill-health, and other conditions such as autism or learning disabilities and sight-loss. Open Country will ring members regularly for informal chats and give them specific advice, ideas and tips during the isolation period (both over the phone, through its blog, post, emails and via Zoom and WhatsApp in some cases). It will also send out more regular paper newsletters, written and collated by staff and volunteers. The aim of this is to keep the people it supports happy, well and motivated during this hard time.

Open Country will also be using the funding to run a ‘Sunflower of Hope’ competition with its members, volunteers and key supporters for free. They will be invited to enter the competition, grow the sunflower in their home/garden and prizes will be given for the tallest and the Judge’s Choice, which will be picked by Open Country’s patron, Air Commodore Simon Bostock on Yorkshire Day on 1st August. Seeds and growing instructions will be sent out to 100 people and Open Country will keep everybody updated throughout the summer by sharing videos, photos, quotes and tips with its community, on all its media platforms.

Pontefract Live at Home Scheme

Pontefract Live at Home Scheme will use the funding to support its members by:

  • expanding its telephone befriending and telephone check-in/welfare check;
  • developing a number of new activities to address the challenges of reaching the increasing number of older people requiring support and services, including the Telephone Tree and social groups via dial in conference calls;
  • expanding the telephone services offered to deliver a fuller programme of support during Covid-19, including telephone prompts, and bereavement support;
  • putting together craft packs, and wellbeing packs – to include toiletries, and household cleaning materials depending on want and need.

Second Chance Headway Centre

The funding will enable Second Chance Headway Centre to ensure the safety of its members, who are adults with brain injuries by:

  • keeping in contact;
  • supporting, safeguarding and signposting any members who have slid into crisis, and those having difficulties;
  • making telephone calls and Zoom meetings to follow the schedule of the postponed day centre sessions, giving some continuity;
  • distributing materials to the home, to allow self-delivered or support delivered therapy and rehab sessions if possible, or to supply resource materials that can be used to keep active, engaged and mentally more alert;
  • taking referrals of any new cases that are being discovered in the community.

The S.M.a.S.H Society

The S.M.a.S.H Society will use the funding to purchase stocks of equipment that will be delivered to households in the district to ensure that people who are vulnerable have access to the appropriate technology that they need to access the necessary groups/forums and sites that will ensure that they keep in good mental and physical wellbeing. This will also ensure positive welfare in themselves and the families with which they live. The Society’s aim is to reduce the negative effects of social isolation that have potentially been compounded by the outbreak of Covid-19.

Delivery and collection of items will be done by The S.M.a.S.H Society, following the current Government guidelines. The equipment will be effectively sanitised and delivered in a fresh ‘sanitised’ bag. Each delivery will also include the appropriate cleaning equipment and PPE/gloves. The equipment will be pre-set with appropriate software and apps, and appropriate security requirements.

The project will also assist people that do not use technology to maintain their wellbeing in a similar way to the above, by printing and sending tools and techniques that can help them through the lockdown, specifically help sheets that are produced by Northumberland NHS Trusts.

Wakefield Hospice

The funding will enable Wakefield Hospice to continue providing support to, and overcome implications for, service users by introducing a remote emotional, mental health and bereavement support programme – The Listening Line. Funding will be used to cover the costs associated with contacting service users, via telephone, Skype or Zoom for example, and the expertise needed to support some of the most vulnerable people within our community. The Listening Line will also be available to anyone affected by the coronavirus – not just people already known to the hospice.

This will temporarily expand the hospices service provision beyond the traditional remit of ‘life limiting illness’ to local people affected by Covid-19 whilst providing a critical response to the increasing number of people suffering with grief and loss and mental health issues as a direct result of the coronavirus.

Knowledge and skills will be shared with local organisations to equip them to better support their bereaved, reducing dependency on Wakefield Hospice’s, and other, limited resources in the area. This will be an extension of its existing Caring Companies project with options being explored to reach out to schools and other care organisations for example.

Wakefield Trinity Community Trust

The funding will enable Wakefield Trinity Community Trust to launch the ‘Connect’ project. The project will support the Trust to diversify its delivery offer during the pandemic, through adopting a person centred approach that involves the delivery of new interventions that support the delivery of positive health and wellbeing outcomes for those most at risk in the community. The ‘Connect’ project will contain three specific strands of work ‘Empower’, ‘Engage’, and ‘Evolve’, each of which have been designed to support people in Wakefield to self-manage their own health and wellbeing, maintain independence, and keep connected with other people during periods of staying at home and being in self-isolation. The project will also provide a point of engagement if required for statutory and other specialist third sector partners to engage with individuals and support them during this time.

Yorkshire MESMAC

Yorkshire MESMAC will use the funding to cover the costs of a data plan for devices that will be loaned out to its most vulnerable service users, thereby enabling them to access online support. An easy read How To guide will be produced to support them through the process of getting online and using video-conferencing apps, as well as guidance on staying safe online.

The funding will also be used to create and disseminate timely, appropriate, accessible, and evidence-based information resources about coronavirus and HIV for the organisation’s communities through WhatsApp, text message, and other social media. These will help to counter disinformation about coronavirus and HIV and increase knowledge and skills to reduce the risk of acquiring or transmitting coronavirus.