Castleford Heritage Trust
The year 2020 was always planned to be a very special year for Castleford Heritage Trust, after all it is our 20th anniversary.
Little did we know however, just how special, unique and challenging it was going to be. We always say we are at the heart of the community and this has been so true over the last four months when we have transformed ourselves into a Covid 19 Community Support Hub supporting the town of Castleford and neighbouring areas in so many ways.
We have co-ordinated requests for food parcels, shopping and prescription collections as well as working with partners such as the Young Peoples Empowerment Project and Castleford Community Books as well as three separate food banks. We have also managed to continue to offer some of our regular activities and events although on a virtual basis. This included a two-week visual arts festival which was great success. We have also significantly increased our production of flour to meet the massive demand over the last few months.
Two things stand out as what I am most proud of locally; it was an extremely steep learning curve transforming ourselves into a Covid-19 Support Hub but a challenge we met successfully. The other is working with new partners which has been a great asset to the local community.
Requests for assistance have been received from numerous sources, directly to ourselves; via the council hub, from WDH, social workers and from other charities. Our partners have worked in the community for some time and really know their areas. We have also though issued a series of questionnaires to ascertain what people need and want not just now but over the next few months.
Second Lockdown Response
Since the first lockdown ended, we did manage to deliver some of our regular groups and activities for a few weeks, including Knit and Natter, Art Appreciation and Book Clubs.
We are now a Help at the Hubs Bureau and recently held our first Citizens Advice Drop In. Since then, we have already received a few phone calls for advice, showing that it is a much needed service.
We received some funding to buy new equipment to reach people digitally. We plan to deliver more activities using online platforms such as Zoom and also put them on to DVD’s for older people without internet access. Over the past few months, we have tried to do as much as we could online and keep active on our Facebook page. We post craft activities, a weekly Art Appreciation post and “Jaunts with Jeannette” which are centred around different topics each week and focus on the local area, amongst other things. We are currently working on finalising some Christmas activities which will be in the form of a digital Queen’s Mill Advent calendar; featuring different activities and such on each day.
We continue to plan ahead as much as we can and are continually looking to develop our digital outreach to the local community. This is so important to keep the community, our staff and volunteers busy, positive and supported.