This post is part of a series of regular blogs to support communities and neighbourliness. Here we will share good news stories, positive practice and innovative ways communities in Leeds are connecting.
For many of us, weekends are not really the same as they were a few weeks ago. So if you only do one thing over the next few days (or whenever your weekend is), make some time to reach out to your neighbours. Supporting one another has never been more important than it is now. Many of us are spending time virtually checking in with friends and family across the city and the country – but don’t forget about those who live next door.
Some of us are neighbourly people already – the type of person who rallies their neighbours to organise a get together or street parties. Some of us are more reserved, perhaps just saying a quick hello to neighbours as we get on with busy lives.
Here at Voluntary Action Leeds (VAL) we’ve been supporting Leeds City Council with recruiting Community Care Volunteers (we now have over 7,000 people signed up). Many of these volunteers are already out supporting people across the city with tasks such as shopping, prescriptions and dog walking.
There’s now one phone number - 0113 378 1877 - for people to call if they need help and don’t have anyone else to rely on at the moment.
But we need to make sure these volunteers and their time is reserved for those people most in need. This is where you come in – if everyone checked in on their neighbours this weekend and offered support, many people wouldn’t need to call the Council for help.
We know that people across the city have been doing this for weeks. To help people do this confidently and safely we have put together a ‘Being a Good Neighbour’ pack, which you can find here. This has some common sense advice about how to offer help and receive help from others. If you don’t have time to read it all, here are four things to remember:
- Keep it local and manageable – stick to a patch you know well, where people will recognise you and trust your offer is genuine
- Don’t get into personal care or going into people’s houses – be assured that other agencies are looking at this
- Keep an eye out for fraudsters, and if confident to do so, politely (and safely) challenge any cold callers in your area
- Follow the advice, and don’t pass on germs
The world has changed in the space of a few short weeks and we’ve all completely changed the way we live our lives. Here at VAL we believe this crisis offers opportunities for us as people and as a city to come closer together. To help this, check out the pack and check in with your neighbours as soon as you can.
If you’re already supporting your neighbours and want to tell us about it, Tweet @volactionleeds and use the hashtag #TogetherLeeds. If not, please just carry on the great work you’re doing.
By Hannah Bailey
Social Action Manager at Voluntary Action Leeds