Holbeck Together responds to crisis with virtual kindness campaign

South-Leeds, not-for-profit organisation, Holbeck Together has launched a #VirtualKindness campaign to help care for the most vulnerable members of the community and to reach out to volunteers for support to manage the influx of new clients as a result of the current crisis.

#VirtualKindness aims to raise awareness of community care and support in times of crisis. Whilst social interaction is limited, Holbeck Together is urging people to check on their neighbours, via a short telephone call, or a simple knock at the window to show they are there. This initiative is to help combat feelings on loneliness in such uncertain times.

The focus for Holbeck Together has always been to support local, vulnerable people, but due to government guidelines the charity has had to shift how it delivers care and adapt its approach according to the needs of its service users, whilst adhering to the requirement for social distancing.

A daily hot meal service which Holbeck Together usually provides at St Matthews Community Centre, is now a Meals on Wheels service providing hot, nutritious meals to the older or isolated individuals in Holbeck. Daily shopping led by volunteers is also in operation to ensure anyone who is in complete isolation during the crisis can receive essential items during this challenging time.

As opportunities for face-to-face interactions decrease, Holbeck Together has moved its support and advice services to phone delivery, as well as expanding our telephone befriending service. Staff and volunteers from Holbeck Together are in contact with clients on a daily basis working to combat increased isolation and feelings of loneliness.

Holbeck Together is also developing new ways to deliver an engaging activities programme remotely, for those who do not have internet access. Activity packs and programmes will provide opportunities for people to engage in a range of activities, from crafting, indoor exercises, quizzes and history pieces to writing and photography exercises.

Due to a rise in demand, Holbeck Together is calling on members of the public and local businesses to offer support in any way they can to help deliver the vital care needed in the community now. This includes volunteers for shopping, delivering meals, writing a letter, donating useful items, contributing to volunteers’ expenses or financial donations to support extended services.

Elissa Newman Chief Officer at Holbeck Together said,

“These are unprecedented times and now more than ever those who are most vulnerable in our community need us. Service delivery is a team effort and there’s space for everyone to help out. We are currently exploring how we can facilitate opportunities for social interactions and activities remotely and we are open to suggestions, so if you have any ideas we’d love to hear about them.

“We’ve been amazed by the local support we have received so far from local people and businesses and we would like to thank everyone so much. Every little bit really does make a difference. But requests for our help continue to come in, so if you can contribute in any way, please do get in touch.

“It has been a phenomenal team effort already and the outpouring of support from members of the community, from local organisations and local businesses has been incredible.

“When we urgently needed hands on deck to help with deliveries, Slung Low, St Luke’s Church, St. Luke’s Cares, Mosaic Church and CEG all mobilised their staff, volunteers, friends and families to keep the wheels turning and ensure shopping, hot meals and other necessities made it to those who needed them.

“When we had an upsurge in vulnerable, isolated people who couldn’t get hold of vital supplies, Leeds United, Engie, Greggs, Morrisons, Park Fisheries and local restaurants all donated food supplies to the community.

“Support from those living locally continues to come in and we just want to say a huge ‘Thank You’ to everyone who has helped out in the last couple of weeks – what an incredible community to be a part of and what a privilege it is to play our part.”


This post is based on a press release issued on behalf of Holbeck Together