Pandemic Response Award
Nominees in this Category
This award is for an individual or group who has provided help and support to those in need during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As soon as the Pandemic struck, the DA sprang into action to look after the elders in our community. They switched their model of care which normally consisted of them delivering services face to face at the centre two days a week, to an outreach, responsive model that saw them delivering food and essential resources to elders in their homes. Working with volunteers, they provided a shopping service to elders who did not have any family to do this for them and provided telephone support which was an essential component that helped to combat social isolation and keep our elders connected to the wider community.
To ensure that elders benefited from more than phone calls 3 times a week, the DA also provided them with Tablets so they could access the internet and take part in online group discussions, bingo, and exercise. They also provided training on how to use the equipment and given that the elders were over 75, this is an impressive accomplishment. A lot of elders have now gone on to purchase their own IT equipment so they can continue to develop their skills and keep in contact with friends and family. The IT equipment has also been used to support another community group and a church in the community.
As we saw many of our elders sadly pass away during the pandemic, the DA’s manager used his skills in IT to ensure that funerals could be viewed online via Zoom. Many families were able to take part in funerals that they could not attend due to restrictions. The DA’s reach during the pandemic and reopening of their service has been wide and they continue to go above and beyond to make sure that our elders are looked after.
Oasis Care Support Services
Oasis Care Support Services provides cleaning, shopping, befriending, support to carers, advocacy and luncheon club / Coffee morning to members of the Huddersfield community.
Very soon into the pandemic, Oasis Care noticed that there were a number of vulnerable African Caribbean adults who were self-isolating due to their age or their long-term conditions. Many needed support to manage day to day living, and their health and wellbeing during the isolation period.
In March 2020, OASIS delivered free meals to 60+ vulnerable African Caribbean people who were isolated and lonely and in need of welfare support in the locality of Huddersfield. With a grant from Kirklees Council, Oasis Care Support Service provided hot Caribbean meals to approximately 71 people 2 times per week – that’s 142+ meals per week, 1’988+ hot meals over 14 weeks!
In order to further support their community, Oasis Care set up a telephone helpline that people could use to ring in if they needed any support. They also provided welfare checks, via the telephone and the doorstep on a weekly basis to support them to manage their mental health, to maintain social contact and to provide practical support where needed, e.g., shopping, provide a hot meal, trips to the pharmacy etc and they worked with other agencies such as food banks, to ensure that no one was left without support. They gave out plants, fruit baskets, flowers, food parcels and activity packs donated from local organisations.
To go the extra mile, Oasis Care even moved their coffee morning / luncheon club sessions online, providing individuals with IT equipment and supporting individuals without IT skills to get connected.
Neruka White is the founder of Neruka’s Soul Food Soup Kitchen. With the support of her family and church, Neruka’s Soul Food Soup Kitchen was launched in the hall of Church of Jesus Christ Apostolic on Gledhow Road Leeds on October 29, 2009. The main purpose was to provide a wholesome hot meal for anyone who needs it. Neruka’s Soul Food Soup Kitchen offer a safe space with people who care and respect you whatever your needs.
Neruka’s Soul Food Soup Kitchen has remained open throughout the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and have provided at peak up to 200 meals and food parcels in a week. Their latest project, supported by Leeds Mind and The Black Fund, is a listening service specifically to support people from African and Caribbean heritage in Leeds.
Neruka’s Soul Food Soup Kitchen was nominated for the Queen’s award for voluntary service in 2020, and has received recognition by Leeds City Council every year.
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