Lightwaves Community Trust
Realising the devastating impact that the coronavirus was going to have on the local community, volunteers at Lightwaves rallied together to set-up a food bank service for those hit hardest by the pandemic.
When lockdown was announced on 23rd March, the main source of income for many disappeared, forcing people and families into unchartered territory. Understanding that putting a meal on the table was going to be harder than ever, Mohammed Ayub of Lightwaves Community Trust, and Helen Thackray of Next Generation Youth and Community Project, created the idea of merging the two charities together into a coronavirus food bank project at Lightwaves, with the help of two Local Mosques Swafia and Ghousia,
Since its inauguration, the food bank has grown into a team of over 50 active volunteers who have helped to deliver food parcels to those in the local area. (at the time of writing 750 parcels have been delivered).
As Helen stated, volunteers have gone “above and beyond in their support”, completing shopping for people shielding, providing phone calls to those wanting a chat and delivering activity packs to children who would normally be attending youth clubs at Lightwaves. All volunteers have themselves been negatively affected by the pandemic but have still devoted their time to helping those in less fortunate positions.
One of the most uplifting aspects of the food bank has been the diversity of engagement from across the community. Donations have come from a variety of different sources across the city, including local mosques, supermarkets, businesses, and residents. No donation has been turned away, with unique items like cinema sized bags of popcorn and vegan mincemeat being greatly appreciated and incorporated into the food parcels.
As Ayub told me, he’s “amazed and proud at how the multicultural local community has come together throughout these difficult times to contribute financially and with food donations.”
The creation of the food bank has encapsulated the community spirit that is at the heart of Wakefield’s identity. In the case of Lightwaves, numerous charities and other local food banks have collaborated together to ensure people all across the district are being fed, with both Helen and Ayub acknowledging that the success has been due to the support they’ve received.
In the meantime, those helping at Lightwaves & Next Generation Food Bank are still looking for donations. Tuesday’s between 1-3pm are when drop offs are welcomed, whilst you can see the progress of the team by liking the Facebook pages ‘Lightwaves Community Trust’ and ‘Next Generation Youth and Community Project’.
Second Lockdown Response
We have continued to support individuals and families in our local community throughout the Covid-19 crisis, with picking up their shopping, friendly phone calls to check how they are doing, picking up urgent medical supplies, and most importantly arranging food parcels to get them through this difficult time.
Also, we are still engaging with people from our community who are isolating or living alone who would benefit from food and activities to stimulate them to avoid monotony, anxiety and mental health issues.
Alongside the foodbank the volunteers have been continuing to generate more recipes to help individuals and families to use the food items. We have been in contact with returning individuals and recommended them to other nearby organizations for help and support during this time.
We continue to build on our networking and partnerships with the local faith groups, primary schools, housing associations and other community anchors in the district
July - September:
Food parcels- 243
Children- 0 (donated books for August meetings rewards)
Outreach (general assistance/redirections)-34
Befriending- 75 (regularly befriending between 4 and 7 individuals weekly)