A note from our Chief Officer, Elissa Newman
How are you doing? A simple question but we really mean it.
It has been an unprecedented time since we had to quickly respond to the Covid crisis back in March 2020. When the pandemic emerged, our priority was making sure that people in our community were looked after, able to get food deliveries without putting themselves at risk and able to stay connected.
It was clear that we would need to respond fast and effectively. We already knew that the older, frail and isolated people who are a core part of Holbeck Together’s user group would be disproportionately affected by the virus and by social distancing, self-isolation and lockdown rules.
We adapted our services quickly, extending our home delivery meals service in terms of numbers of beneficiaries, scope of the service to include people of all ages, and meals provided to include evening meals and weekends. During the first 12 weeks of the service, we delivered 2,370 freshly prepared meals to clients’ homes. We have been providing families and individuals with essential supply packages; picking up prescriptions; circulating activity and well-being packs to keep you active and with things to engage in; and also reaching out with a friendly ‘check-in’ and hello via phone to people who are feeling isolated. We also moved quickly to get crucial social activities online via Zoom, and have supported our clients with access to digital services to enable them to stay connected and overcome the barriers to engagement.
The full community response has been a phenomenal team effort so far and the outpouring of support from people living and working locally has been incredible. A new wave of volunteers put themselves forward at the start of the pandemic and as of February 2021, our volunteers have given over 6,400 hours of their time and skills to support the community. Some of them call people daily who may feel lonely or isolated to say hi and check in – for some we know it can be the only voice they will hear all day or week.
The value of working with partners and the wider social care sector across Holbeck to signpost and connect up the services and support available has made a significant impact. We want to thank those organisations who continue to partner with us during this difficult time. The many new connections we have made have been a source of strength and inspiration for us and it is of paramount importance to continue to develop these relationships for the benefit of the community. Covid-19 has given us a unique opportunity to build new relationships with people – to connect with more people in our community who want to be part of something bigger.
I want to say a huge thank you to our staff and volunteers without whom none of our services, deliveries, or catch up calls would be happening. Words do not do justice to you, your selflessness and commitment at this time and to the generosity and kindness of our funders and donors.
The tumultuous year we have faced as an organisation has provided valuable learning opportunities and will continue to do so. Although times continue to challenge us, our priority continues to be looking out for our Holbeck community. You can read about the past year at Holbeck Together in more detail in our Covid-19 report.
We are constantly reviewing our services and look forward to better times ahead in the near future– when we can all meet together again.