Why did you take on this volunteer project?
I saw the impact of Covid and wanted to help the vulnerable and elderly in the local community.
Have you volunteered before?
I have done volunteering work with a small local charity called Suffah Foundation. This involved feeding the homeless in town and a monthly food project that ran for about 3 years, providing freshly cooked food and food parcels to the asylum seekers registered with the DASH charity.
When did you start?
I started volunteering for covid-19 in Feb 2020.
What do you do?
I am quite active on social media and am an admin for a local community Facebook group and also local Whatsapp group. These groups were created as a way for the local community to stay in touch and act a neighborhood awareness groups. When we were hit by the pandemic before even the 1st National lockdown, I noticed some local elderly people were at risk so I decided to re-name the social media groups to “ Lockwood & Thornton Lodge Covid-19 Help”. I managed to get approx. 20 friends and family to become volunteers so we can look out for those in the community. I was then approached by Kirklees council who asked if I was an official mutual aid group, I advised them I didn’t even know what one was and I simply created group to help others. Kirklees Council shared my details with the Jubilee Centre and I met Charlene and from there we created a Viaduct Aid group consisting of coordinators from Lockwood & Thornton Lodge, Golcar, Crosland Moor, Lindley, Berry Brow, and Paddock and surrounding areas. Together we worked as one team, with the Jubilee Centre securing the funding and resources, and the different area Leads using their pool of volunteers offering services such as shopping, prescription collection, friendly phone calls. I also did a door to door leaflet drop in my area so people knew we were there to help. I contacted the schools in my area and found there were families who were struggling and arranged food parcels, clothes and toys/stationary for them. In total there were 20+ families that was provided help regularly during Lockdown 1 by my team of volunteers that I coordinated. There were 18 families identified by the local school that I helped.
What have you found rewarding or memorable about your experience?
I have found that by doing my bit, together we can work as a team and make a difference in our communities. In life we have certain decisions to make and usually we sit back and let other take the lead. But I felt that to make a difference I needed to step forward and take the lead. Engaging with people from all walks of life, helping them with even the basic things and knowing my actions has helped them is a rewarding feeling. Seeing the smiles and expression of gratitude from those I have helped made the whole experience memorable and something I would do again and encourage others to get involved with.
Find out more
You can watch this short film about The Branch at Jubilee Community Centre and how they have supported people during the pandemic: https://vimeo.com/434667870
From March 2020 to March 2021 Branch Volunteers delivered 8,542 emergency food packs and 5,917 emergency school packs they also cooked meals and distributed clothes, toys, baby equipment, household items and growing packs.
If you would like to become a Community Responder with the Branch apply here: https://volunteering.tslkirklees.org.uk/job/the-branch/