The Local Covid-19 response in Kirklees

Volunteers Week 2019 – National Awareness Days Events Calendar ... For the past two months, the Jo Cox Foundation’s Yorkshire team have ceased their usual roles to support their community, responding to those needing help due to the impact of the pandemic. Working with the local authority and many third sector organisations, volunteer groups and individuals, they have helped to deliver a variety of support. This includes delivering food to those unable to shop and connecting people who need a regular check in to ward off loneliness to a befriending service.



Much of the initial and continued response to Covid-19 in communities has come from volunteers. Throughout Volunteers’ week, we will be sharing some of their experiences.

For now, here is a little more from our team member Hafeezah about how she feels about the work she has been doing locally:

Life has a funny way of taking a strange turn, I remember describing how I was feeling at the beginning of this pandemic which seems an age ago now. I remember vividly saying in a hopeful and jaunty tone, how we are sailing ships experiencing rough seas. Right now life is taking us to our next destination, another island, but to get there we will experience damage and loss. Whilst we battle this storm individually, one thing that I know is that we are in this together. Yes, we're sailing through uncharted territories in our own boats, but together we will take it daily, remembering the night is darkest just before dawn.

During this very surreal time, my colleagues and I from the Yorkshire JCF team have adapted our work life. We are supporting and assisting Kirklees Council alongside other organisations and volunteers, including our friends at the Yorkshire Children’s Centre, as conduits of requests for support and consolidating and matching needs for support on the Covid-19 helpline.

In the last few weeks, we have experienced a significant rise in cases of people requesting support for befriending services. Loneliness is an issue we continue to work on; people are feeling more alone and more isolated than ever. What starts with an initial phone call to speak about the referral turns into a 30-minute call. People are longing for a connection, conversation, for someone to ask how things are going and most often for someone to lend an ear to.

Throughout the last few weeks, I have spoken to some amazing people, with many stories to share and advice to give. It’s a humbling experience to have spoken to so many people from different walks of life, all sharing their journeys; many have been extremely grateful for someone to check up on them. The joy you hear in the conversations that I’ve been having with many is something that has also helped me through this very surreal time.

I have learnt many different things and this experience has really enriched my soul, my way of thinking and living. People have shared advice with me on various different things - like the secret to long life by “visiting the gym” but my other new friend disagrees as he says it’s “living a simple life and not holding grudges” - both have different perspectives, but for now I’ll take the latter advice as it has worked for him at 83! On that note, I’d like to leave you all with a final piece of advice my new friend shared with me: “The world is a wonderful place if you embrace it.”