Community Action - working in partnership to support people and organisations in the current pandemic
The current pandemic has been a challenge for all voluntary and community organisations particularly as it is in times of crisis that voluntary sector organisations come into their own and step in to help the most vulnerable people in society. However, this particular crisis has been like no other and the issue of social distancing has made helping people more difficult. But we have all pulled together and offered our support in conventional and creative ways, working in partnership to help people in many different ways across the city.
As the likelihood of a lockdown situation became apparent Community Action invited partners from across the city to get together to offer a cohesive response for the people of Derby. Working with Derby City Council, Derby Homes, Derby University, local NHS social prescribing officers and local Mutual Aid Covid Support groups we collectively undertook a huge challenge to make sure that we could respond to the fast-moving situation. And since that day it has been full speed ahead.
The Derby Covid Community Response Hub had an overwhelming response to a call out for volunteers and has been able to match those volunteers with people in need of support. There has been some great feedback from people who have volunteered in their local communities and the benefits to both volunteers, and the people they are supporting, is evident in that feedback:
“I'm fairly new to Derby, and have found that the people are so accommodating and always ready to give a hand where needed. Working in the community has been a real eye opener and I have really enjoyed helping people who need support.” John - volunteer
“I'm proud to be a part of such a great team and would just like to thank all those people who are back in the offices keeping this well-oiled machine running.” Sue - volunteer
I keep busy with the people I am regularly buddied up with, as well as helping with prescription runs and other errands.” Robert - volunteer
“I have met two lovely people by helping out and it's a pleasure to speak with them and catch up with them weekly. I'm home all day with my two boys so it gives me a little something extra to do. Whilst I'm not moving mountains it's nice to know I'm a ripple that can go along way to helping someone else.” Michelle - volunteer
Funding and Support
We continue to deliver our services to voluntary and community organisations. Our Group Development Team have been exceptionally busy putting together all of the funding opportunities that are available to organisations and offering help in applying for these funds.
A new emergency fund from Derby City Council is now available to smaller organisations. The fund has had lots of applications and has helped many local charities. A selection of those organisations:
The Al Hurraya organisation received funding to offer counselling sessions to people in the Pakistani community in Normanton due to the high number of Covid19 deaths in that area.
The All Being Well organisation received funding to provide an alternative to their ‘Feel Good Fridays’ arts project that was held in a local park before lockdown. The project helps people in recovery from mental ill health and the funding has allowed the organisation to send out art packs to keep the group active in their own homes.
St Michael’s Church, Alvaston received funding to help with the use of the church as a food hub, facilitating the receipt, storage and distribution of food during the Covid 19 crisis.
Children First Derby received funding for volunteer expenses to support vulnerable families in the city.
Derby Sound Community Radio received funding for volunteer expenses and marketing materials to continue its work of informing people and organisations in the city of support available during the Covid 19 crisis. The funds also enable the station to continue to make engaging and informative radio shows to keep people entertained.
The Indian Community Centre has partnered with Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara and GAD Gym to offer a completely free daily meal service for people in need. The funding will be used to contribute towards the purchase of ingredients for meals.
Padley Group continues to run a 12 bed hostel for men and provides two meals each weekday to up to 102 individuals who are housed in hostels with no access to food. The emergency funding will be used to buy equipment to keep staff and residents safe together with plants to create a ‘yard garden’ to make a pleasant space to socially distance in.
The Derby City Sport Forum - hosted by Community Action - has been working with local sporting organisations and clubs to help keep people active during lockdown. Together Derby sports organisations have created a fitness video with contributions from Rolls Royce Rugby Football Club, DanceFitt, Midland Canoe Club, Sporting Communities, Darkstar Volleyball Club and Littleover Dazzlers FC. The video was used for the ‘This is Derby’ programme to provide activities during isolation for young people however, it is suitable for all age groups - if you do it all twice through you'll feel it!
Derby City Sport Forum have also provided sports equipment to the homeless hotel. Three clubs kindly donated equipment which was gratefully received, especially the football goals.
The Volunteer Centre has been working in different ways to engage with volunteers. This has involved the creation of a forum for volunteers to share their experiences and get support and advice. The forum has proved very successful with around 100 members to date. The forum will continue after the pandemic is over as another way of reaching out to volunteers and providing them with support.
Community Action has seen a large rise in interactions and engagements on social media platforms during this time and this has greatly improved visibility and interaction in the local community which has brought about donations of food, toys, money, and general offers of help. There is also a wealth of information on the Community Action website which has been shared far and wide to help local organisations and keep them informed on everything from Government guidelines to foodbank donation points.
Community Action has also been working with Derby Sound Community Radio to give a voice to local organisations and members of the partnership to talk about the services they are offering on air during this time. Paul Brookhouse of the Derby Food Forum Network recently took part in one of the shows to promote the new donation drop-off zone at Derby County.
Each good news story has its own story - volunteers help the people they support but volunteering also gives a feel good factor to the person volunteering. Donations are greatly received and people enjoy donating, giving them a feeling of being involved in a wider sense.
We are only part of the way through this pandemic but the achievements of local organisations and partnerships will continue and there will be more good news and uplifting stories in the coming months.
If you would like to volunteer or are in need of support please contact the Derby Covid Community Response Hub on 01332 640000 or email email@example.com