When the pandemic hit there was no provision in the South East of the Wakefield District to respond to the needs of the residents.
We transformed our centre to develop the COVID19 Community Response Hub initially to assist with any support our residents required. It quickly became apparent that our residents required food parcels, food shopping, befriending and other services which as they needed to isolate, they couldn't undertake. We developed a volunteer network to enable us to respond to needs plus we used our contacts to develop a food donating service so we could deliver food to those most in need. Since the start of the pandemic further projects have started locally such as a local food donation service and a local company providing freshly cooked readymade meals which we now distribute weekly.
Once we notified local businesses and residents what we were planning on undertaking to help those most in need during the pandemic, the response was overwhelming. We have received both monetary and food donations plus carrier bags from local residents and businesses alike proving there is much community spirit across our district.
We have been established in the heart of our community for over 20 years. Our residents have confidence to contact us if they are in need and likewise if they know of anyone in need with the confidence that all information will be dealt with in the strictest confidence. We have been responding to or referring to the needs of all residents for years and have vast local knowledge from our staff and volunteers who live locally.
In the future I think we would be more prepared, informed and better equipped to respond if we are faced with such a crisis again. We had to create new systems to be able to deal with this crisis effectively and these systems could be transferable to other projects.