Havercroft and Ryhill Community Learning Centre
Within the communities of Havercroft and Ryhill, the week before ‘lockdown’ partner organisations came together to discuss how we could support our communities in the event of a potential ‘lockdown’ situation. HRCLP, Rycroft Leisure, St James Church.
District Councillors, local schools and volunteers quickly put in place a community helpline, and collectively brought forward the opening of the food bank at HRCLP. The partner organisations collectively became Rycroft Community Support. Messages to our local communities went out via social media and a leaflet was delivered. Groups came together from across the District to support their communities. Through working together the collective effort has been fantastic. From providing food parcels, packed lunches to our school children, distributing free school meal hampers on behalf of local schools, providing health and wellbeing support, friendly telephone calls, collecting and delivering medication from GPs and Chemists, providing support with utilities, developing the vital link with Wakefield Council Welfare Team to support local people, collecting and distributing free food from local supermarkets. The list goes on. Local people and volunteers have also shown their support. Local people have raised funds to purchase food including through baking buns and cakes, street bingo and crocheting rainbows. Individual donations and donations from other organisations has been brilliant and include many local people, Rycroft Primary Care Centre, Wakefield Council, Kinsley and Fitzwilliam Learning and Community Centre, St. Catherine’s, Walton Food Aid, Crofton Food bank, Rockpool Catering and not forgetting from within our own partnership, Rycroft Leisure, Ryhill Junior Infant and Nursery School, Newstead Green Academy and St James Church.
I am incredibly proud of how everyone in our communities and across communities have come together to help and support those in need, whatever that need may be. It has been overwhelming how community spirit and been strengthened and gone beyond local boundaries.
It is always difficult to anticipate people’s needs. It is important not to base their needs on what you think they are. They can be very different things. Building relationships with your communities is vital, building trust and respect. We all encounter times when we struggle and feeling safe enough to share such struggles is really important. Only at this point can we respond to that need. The coronavirus pandemic has brought a whole raft of disruption and upset across a whole range of issues for local people. Our communities are talking to us and we want to continue to engage more and more. All our partner organisations have been working in a different way, ultimately to support our local people and communities. It is about working with others and having a conversation.