Volunteering at New Wortley Community Centre – a hive of activity during lockdown and beyond


There was a hive of exercise going down at New Wortley Group Centre, with help from volunteers since individuals began shielding previous to the lockdown, writes Josie Armitage.

About 8,000 volunteers signed as much as be Group Care volunteers by means of Voluntary Motion Leeds as they needed to assist out throughout Covid-19. Round 112 of those have been supporting the work in Armley and Wortley, which has been co-ordinated by means of New Wortley Group Centre.

Volunteers have been supporting individuals by means of social isolation by befriending them by means of common cellphone chats to ensure they’re okay and offering help the place wanted. They’ve been delivering meals parcels, remedy and procuring to those that have been shielding or are struggling financially. They’ve been offering a weekly scorching meal service to those that have been shielding.

In addition to volunteers from the local people, the Leeds Rhinos and the Leeds Rhinos Basis have been working laborious to offer this help.

I’ve been volunteering since April, firstly dropping off meals parcels and doing a little looking for native individuals. Since 23rd April, I’ve been volunteering at New Wortley Group Centre each Thursday serving to with the new meals service.

Josie Armitage in motion

I’ve been doing a wide range of duties together with washing up, shelling out the new meals and getting them prepared for the volunteers who’ve been delivering them. Different actions have included placing meals parcels collectively and photocopying and folding leaflets in regards to the scorching meals service prepared for distribution.

I’ve been made welcome from the beginning by Barry Dalby, Andrea Edwards, Rebecca Houlding and Andrea McKenna (the Chair of Trustees). I really feel very a lot a part of the Thursday workforce, working with Tanya Marshall who has returned from furlough to the Centre to handle the re-opening of the Café@40.

I needed to volunteer as I wanted some construction to my day after being furloughed from my part-time function.

I felt a bit misplaced not going to work and struggled with motivation and never having a job to do.I had my very own half time enterprise to fall again on which has stored me more and more busy because the lockdown has gone on.

I help charities, group organisations and social enterprises with their fundraising, discovering funding alternatives, writing funding functions and offering recommendation and help.

I additionally discovered that going to the Centre on Thursdays was the one time I used to be leaving the home, aside from dropping my dad’s procuring spherical to him on a weekly foundation.
I seemed ahead to going out and being with different individuals on a Thursday morning and nonetheless do.

Volunteers have been supporting individuals by means of social isolation by befriending them by means of common cellphone chats to ensure they’re okay and offering help the place wanted. 

They’ve been delivering meals parcels, remedy and procuring to those that have been shielding or are struggling financially.  They’ve been offering a weekly scorching meal service to those that have been shielding.

In addition to volunteers from the local people, the Leeds Rhinos and the Leeds Rhinos Basis have been working laborious to offer this help.

I’ve been volunteering since April, firstly dropping off meals parcels and doing a little looking for native individuals.  Since 23rd April, I’ve been volunteering at New Wortley Group Centre each Thursday serving to with the new meals service.

I’ve been doing a wide range of duties together with washing up, shelling out the new meals and getting them prepared for the volunteers who’ve been delivering them.  Different actions have included placing meals parcels collectively and photocopying and folding leaflets in regards to the scorching meals service prepared for distribution.

I’ve been made welcome from the beginning by Barry Dalby, Andrea Edwards, Rebecca Houlding and Andrea McKenna (the Chair of Trustees). 

I really feel very a lot a part of the Thursday workforce, now working with Tanya Marshall who has returned from furlough to the Centre to handle the re-opening of the Café@40.

I needed to volunteer as I wanted some construction to my day after being furloughed on 1st April from my half time function as Partnerships and Contracts Supervisor at The Endorphins Group. 

I felt a bit misplaced not going to work and struggled with motivation and never having a job to do.  I had my very own half time enterprise to fall again on which has stored me more and more busy because the lockdown has gone on. 

I help charities, group organisations and social enterprises with their fundraising, discovering funding alternatives, writing funding functions and offering recommendation and help.

I additionally discovered that going to the Centre on Thursdays was the one time I used to be leaving the home, aside from dropping my Dad’s procuring spherical to him on a weekly foundation.  I seemed ahead to going out and being with different individuals on a Thursday morning and nonetheless do. 

Sufficient from me …  I interviewed different volunteers about their experiences.

Victoria Kortekaas, Volunteer co-ordinator

Victoria Kortekaas.

What has been your function?  What has this concerned?

I’m the Volunteer Coordinator for the Group Care volunteers who perform a variety of actions together with accumulating and delivering meals parcels, buy groceries and befriend individuals by cellphone.  Referrals come by means of from the Leeds Metropolis Council Helpline and I cellphone every individual, double examine the data I’ve been given and match them with a volunteer to help them. I collate all the data for our space.  I’ve been working from residence all through.

At one level we had been receiving as much as 16 referrals a day and had 112 new volunteers working with us.  I hold the volunteers updated with info and examine to see that that they’re nonetheless obtainable to assist out.  Many are actually returning to work.

How did you get entangled?

I’m the Volunteer Coordinator for New Wortley Group Centre.  Normally we’ve about 16 volunteers with 4-5 being common.  I help the volunteers with coaching and guarantee that they’ve updated info.

What’s been one of the best factor about this function?

What we’re doing at New Wortley is admittedly necessary and has had an enormous influence on peoples’ lives.  It’s been a lifeline for individuals who’ve been shielding or misplaced their jobs.  It’s rewarding and necessary for the group.  I get to speak to pretty individuals and know that chatting to them makes their day higher and makes my day higher.

We’ve had nice help from the Leeds Metropolis Council PEAK workforce, the Leeds Rhinos and the Leeds Rhinos Basis.  Andrea (Edwards) and Becky (Rebecca Houlding) have been nice, main the work and maintaining all of it going. I’m so glad I’ve been capable of do one thing helpful.

What are the challenges?

I’ve needed to take care of individuals in disaster which has been carrying alone psychological well being.  Some calls have been very difficult. 

How lengthy do you assume it’s going to proceed?

There are nonetheless a small group of people that can’t exit and wish our help.  There are extra individuals needing help as they’re shedding their jobs or have psychological well being points as an influence of the present scenario.  There will probably be an elevated want if we’ve a second wave within the winter.

Do you want any extra volunteers?

We at all times want volunteers!  Individuals can signal as much as be a volunteer at: https://doinggoodleeds.org.uk/i-want-to-volunteer/

Group Care Volunteers

I additionally interviewed three Group Care volunteers who’ve been doing nice work supporting the susceptible locally.

Volunteer Jo Foster

Jo Foster

What volunteering have you ever been doing for New Wortley Group Centre? 

I’ve been making weekly welfare calls to individuals who had been self-isolating, checking how they’re doing and chatting and maintaining them related with the surface world! I’ve delivered meals parcels as and when required. I’ve additionally made common remedy deliveries and picked up emergency remedy for individuals self-isolating. 

What had been you doing earlier than Covid-19?

I work for the charity Carers Leeds supporting carers well being and wellbeing. 

How did you get entangled in volunteering?

Once I was despatched residence from work at the beginning of lockdown and advised we must always count on to be at residence for roughly three months, I realised I wound have an terrible lot of spare time! I noticed an advert/request for individuals with DBS checks to get entangled and I knew I needed to do one thing.

What do you get pleasure from about volunteering?

It has given me an actual sense of goal and construction throughout a time after I might have actually struggled.  My normal routine of getting up and prepared for work after which commuting was changed  by a stroll from my bed room to my laptop computer within the kitchen! It might have been far too straightforward for me to laze round in my pyjamas all day and lose all sense of time! 

I’ve actually loved attending to know the individuals I’ve supported repeatedly.  It has been good to share the bewilderment of the scenario with others. And we’ve often managed to search out one thing to snort about. I’ve favored feeling helpful. 

Will you proceed to volunteer submit Covid-19? 

 I’m completely happy to proceed with no matter is required. However I’m particularly eager to maintain up with the welfare calls. While all I can supply to individuals is a voice on the finish of a cellphone, we’ve shared such a bizarre/scary/unusual expertise that I wish to keep in contact and can be unhappy for it to finish 

Rhea Butler

Volunteer Rhea Butler

What volunteering have you ever been doing for New Wortley Group Centre? 

I’ve been delivering meals parcels to individuals and looking for residents.  To begin with, this was almost each day.  Now it’s two-three instances per week.

What had been you doing earlier than Covid-19?

I left a full time function in administration in February with the plan to search out one other job as there have been lots round.  Then Covid-19 hit. 

How did you get entangled in volunteering?

When lockdown began, I needed to do one thing.  It was the chance for me to get out and assist others who couldn’t exit.  I signed up for the federal government volunteer scheme and acquired concerned in making cellphone calls to individuals for a short time.  I most popular the chance to satisfy individuals head to head.

What do you get pleasure from about volunteering?

Because the virus scenario developed, I believed serving to to offer help to others can be a manner of creating myself helpful.  I’ve met some nice individuals.  Individuals who I in any other case wouldn’t have met.  I’ve loved doing issues for individuals.  They’re so grateful for what we’re doing.  Some individuals have been fairly keen to speak and I believe they respect the chance to speak as some are having fairly a lonely time.  A smile and a thanks has its personal rewards for me.

Will you proceed to volunteer submit Covid-19? 

 I need to proceed so long as I’ve acquired time.  I’m presently making use of for jobs.  If I get an element time job, I’ll in all probability proceed.  If I get a full time job, it is dependent upon time.

Angela Holt

What volunteering have you ever been doing for New Wortley Group Centre? 

I’ve been accumulating meals parcels and dropping them off to native individuals.  I’ve an 11 12 months previous son and my very own transport so have been becoming this round my childcare and residential education commitments.

What had been you doing earlier than Covid-19?

I work as a Authorized Assistant for a regulation agency and was furloughed from this at Easter.  I had been working Four days per week (not Wednesdays).  I had been serious about getting concerned in volunteering on Wednesdays.  I do some advert hoc volunteering at my son’s college so I can discover out extra about what the college are doing.

What impressed you to volunteer?

I had a imaginative and prescient of numerous aged and susceptible individuals self-isolating and never capable of exit or have anybody to assist them.  They’d be alone and struggling.  I knew that I needed to do one thing to assist.

What do you get pleasure from about volunteering?

I get a way of satisfaction when individuals say thanks after I drop their meals parcels off.  I’ve a chat with them and this can be the one interplay they’ve with somebody.  I’m completely happy to present my time to assist individuals.  It doesn’t value something to present my time and by giving so little, I can assist individuals.

Will you proceed to volunteer submit Covid-19? 

 I’ll have much less time over the summer season as my son is on vacation from college.  When he goes again to high school, I will probably be very happy to assist out.  I didn’t realise how a lot volunteering goes on and what’s occurring locally.  I believe that the work that New Wortley Group Centre is nice.  They’ve carried on supporting individuals all through the lockdown and are nonetheless supporting them, the place different organisations have closed and never been ready to do that.

In abstract, volunteering for New Wortley Group Centre has been a rewarding expertise for me and the opposite volunteers.  Our work has been appreciated and we’ve been completely happy to really feel helpful.  As Victoria Kortekaas says:

We have now had actually stable volunteers who’ve been there each day to assist out.  All of the volunteers have been superb and have put my religion again in humanity.  We couldn’t have carried out this with out them.



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