24 Mar 2020

City unites to help those in need

Coronavirus Volunteering Health

Leeds City Council has joined forces with Voluntary Action Leeds and a network of other local charities to deliver care to anyone in need across the city.

Leeds City Council has joined forces with Voluntary Action Leeds and a network of other local charities to deliver care to anyone in need across the city.

Following last week’s unprecedented announcements many people had already made the difficult decision to self-isolate. Monday’s Prime Ministerial announcement means now even more people will be restricted from leaving their homes, except under limited circumstances, yet many may not have friends or relatives to help them.

In response Leeds City Council has today launched a helpline so anyone finding themselves in this situation can call 0113 3781877 and be matched with a local volunteer who can help.

Over 4000 Leeds residents have already signed-up to assist those in need across the city as part of the Community Care Programme, but more are needed if the huge numbers now restricted from moving around are to get the help they need.

Anyone who feels they are able can volunteer for a range of different roles dependant on availability and preference by visiting www.doinggoodleeds.org.uk, emailing info@val.org.uk or calling 0113 2977920. Once signed-up they will receive training and then be matched with opportunities locally to help.

Volunteers can sign-up to offer practical support such as shopping deliveries, preparing meals, dog walking, making check-in phone calls or as an informal volunteer within their own neighbourhood in more general ways.

The council and Voluntary Action Leeds have enlisted a network of charities across all 33 wards to match volunteers with those having contacted the council on the helpline number to ask for assistance.

Launched last week the Community Care Programme ensures those in need get the help they require while keeping everyone safe in the process. Those who have a DBS “police” check are particularly being encouraged to come forward at this time.

Councillor Debra Coupar, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Communities, said:

“We have been moved by the city’s huge response to offer support to those in need. It is amazing to see everyone pull together during this unprecedented situation. Leeds has a strong community spirit and we are all proud to be part of this effort and of all those taking part.

“We are calling on anyone who thinks they could help even in a small way to get in touch with Voluntary Action Leeds. Whether it be dropping off food, nipping to the shops or just speaking on the telephone - we really need your help.

“Once you’ve made contact with Voluntary Action Leeds, it will ensure you are matched with someone locally who needs help. We understand those in need will want to be supported by those living locally and this will be the safest way to operate.”

Councillor Rebecca Charlwood, Executive Member for Health, Wellbeing and Adults, said:

Following the Prime Minister’s announcements we are of course concerned that all those being asked to confine themselves to their homes get the help they need. We know some of these people are alone and will need help from their local communities to get through. If you find yourself in this situation, wondering how to get groceries and other essentials, then I urge you to call 0113 3781877 now and we will match you with volunteers who live near you and can help.”

The Community Care Volunteer team has also launched a ‘Being a Good Neighbour Pack’ available for anyone to download here. The pack offers tips and guidance on how people can help their neighbours and local communities, and how to stay safe whilst doing so.

Richard Jackson, Chief Executive at Voluntary Action Leeds, said:

“So many people in our communities want to help and it is critical that we have the right systems in place, to get trained volunteers to vulnerable people who need support the most. We are extremely thankful to the thousands of people who have already come forward to offer their help: it’s inspiring to see our city come together during this challenging time.

“We want to reassure volunteers that we’re now working hard to ensure we get people helping on the ground, coordinated with our network of local charities, as soon as possible.

“It’s vital that we pull together, help each other and that we stay as safe in the process as possible and hopefully this coordinated effort and our Being a Good Neighbour Pack helps achieve this.”

Anyone in need of help is asked to call Leeds City Council on call 0113 3781877. Anyone already in receipt of care may be contacted by their care provider in due course should there be a change to arrangements.

To sign up as a Community Care Volunteer please visit www.doinggoodleeds.org.uk or contact Voluntary Action Leeds on info@val.org.uk or call 0113 2977920.

For more general information please visit www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus

Notes to editors

For media enquiries relating to Leeds City Council please contact daniel.johnson2@leeds.gov.uk or call 0113 3789175

For media enquiries or interviews about the programme or the volunteer activity taking place over the coming weeks and months, please contact Rebecca Quayle at Voluntary Action Leeds on rebecca.quayle@val.org.uk.

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team