As COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the UK, Calderdale people are rising to the challenge with their usual kindness and resilience.
Since the Government announced that vulnerable groups should self-isolate, Calderdale Council has been overwhelmed with offers from volunteers across the borough to provide much needed support to local communities.
The Council is co-ordinating its community response – point four of the Council’s 10-point plan announced on Monday 16 March to respond to COVID-19. This involves establishing a virtual volunteer hub to ensure it safely and effectively manages the numerous offers to help maximise support for communities, working alongside its voluntary and community organisation partners.
The virtual nature of this hub is important and reflects the strong advice from the Government on social distancing(external link), meaning everyone needs to take steps to reduce social interaction between people. Part of the guidance is to avoid all contact (including volunteering) with others if you have symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms include a high temperature and / or a new and continuous cough.
Leader of Calderdale Council, Cllr Tim Swift said:
“It’s no surprise to me that so many people have been in touch to ask how they can help. It’s the same spirit that we see during the floods and it makes me proud. Our communities always rally round in times of need; it’s what makes this place so distinctive.”
Calderdale Council’s Director of Public Health, Paul Butcher said:
“The Government advice on social distancing is very clear. It states that certain groups, such as those over 70 and people with pre-existing conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or asthma, should stay away from large groups of people.
“For some people, such as those who live on their own, it could be quite difficult for them to follow this advice without help. Volunteers are a fantastic way of providing practical support where and when it is needed.”
The virtual volunteering hub will help to manage volunteers in response to COVID-19, making sure that support is targeted where it is needed most.
There will be a directory of all the local groups which are able to offer support and the type of support which they can give.
It will also include a list of areas which need additional volunteer support to keep priority volunteer services, such as foodbanks, open. These will be matched against the offers of help which have been received by the hub.
A dedicated email address has been set up to record all offers of volunteering in response to COVID-19. If you would like to volunteer please send your details to the firstname.lastname@example.org
More information about volunteering with the Council is available on the website, which is being regularly updated.