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Volunteers rally to help vulnerable in Leeds

The number of people volunteering to help the vulnerable in Leeds during the Covid-19 lockdown has passed 7,500, Leeds City Council has claimed, writes Richard Beecham.

Since the government-enforced lockdown was announced last month, thousands of community care volunteers in Leeds have joined forces with third sector organisations to deliver vital services to people in need across the city.

Part of Leeds’ response to the coronavirus crisis, delivered by Leeds City Council and Voluntary Action Leeds, a dedicated network of third sector organisations working as ‘Community Hubs’ are now working hard in each ward of Leeds to deploy volunteers, to support to those in greatest need.

Leeds City Council has stated anyone needing help should call 0113 378 1877 to be matched with a local volunteer in the programme who can help.

Vital services and practical support for vulnerable people over the coming weeks includes delivering shopping, preparing meals, dog walking and making check-in phone calls. Volunteers can also opt to help informally within their own neighbourhood in more general ways.

Organisations will work with Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL) at a ward level to offer guidance, links to the council’s emergency food service and links to local ward members, and other council, third sector and local services which are responding to the pandemic.

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

“It’s inspiring to see so many people in our communities wanting 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 come forward and to the local, trusted organisations we’re now working with, who are working incredibly hard to match volunteers with need in each area.”

Deputy leader of Leeds City Council Debra Coupar said:

“It is heart-warming to see the city come together and support each other at this incredibly challenging time.

“I would personally like to thank each and every volunteer who has come forward to offer their time and urge anyone who hasn’t yet signed-up, but thinks they could to please get involved.

“Thanks must also go to all the charities working in each ward co-ordinating much needed help and assistance to those who need it most. We are tremendously grateful for their involvement in this vital work.”

Lead organisations working in partnership with Leeds City Council and VAL to co-ordinate voluntary activity in each of the six wards in West Leeds are as follows:

Armley
New Wortley Community Centre
40 Tong Rd, Armley, Leeds LS12 1LZ

Bramley & Stanningley
Barca Leeds
Unit 2. Northside Exchange Wyther Lane Leeds LS5 3BT.

Calverley & Farsley
Pudsey Parish Church
Church Ln, Pudsey LS28 8BE

Farnley & Wortley
Armley Helping Hands
Strawberry Ln, Armley, Leeds LS12 1SF

Kirkstall
Kirkstall Valley Development Trust
Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park, Unit 11, Bridge Rd, Leeds LS5 3BL

Pudsey
Pudsey Parish Church
Church Ln, Pudsey LS28 8BE

Organisations and groups wishing to find out more about their local community hub or discuss existing or potential activity in their area should contact Voluntary Action Leeds by emailing info@val.org.uk or calling 0113 297 7920.

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