Our ongoing work during the pandemic

Our ongoing work during the pandemic

Despite some relaxing of the lockdown rules, we are committed to continuing to ensure that the services we have provided and the work we have put in to help our local community during the pandemic continues.

In partnership with The Old Fire Station and Zest, we have continued to distribute creative wellbeing packs. With the Orion consortium we have continued co-ordinating the Leeds Cares Volunteering Scheme, giving vital help to those most in need in the Chapel Allerton Ward in the city. We continue to call our participants every week and we are also giving the Orion Manbassador Project a slightly different feel with our lockdown ‘zine.

Monday 22 June marked the second-ever Windrush Day, a day commemorating the Windrush Generation. From the 1950s to the 1970s, nearly half a million West Indians heeded the call to help rebuild post-war Britain, referred to as “the Windrush Generation”. To reflect on this, we looked at one of our favourite projects from the archives, ‘Many Happy Returns’ our celebration of the 70th birthday of the NHS. For this project we interviewed post-war Caribbean immigrants about the contributions they have made to the NHS throughout the years – as Moyra who was 76 at the time of the project explained “I am 76 ½ and I come from Barbados on the 15th March 1962, which will be 57 years. And I came straight to Brighton to do nursing.“ The interviews gave us a chance to learn and celebrate the invaluable contributions made by the Windrush generation in rebuilding post-war Britain. We as an organisation continue to give voices like Moyra’s a platform to share their stories.

Elsewhere, along with The Old Fire Station and Zest, we’ve continued to distribute our Arts & Wellbeing packs with 200 packs heading out weekly - meaning no family is left behind! These are made up each week by dedicated members of staff from all three organisations and volunteers. They change weekly, with our most recent Threading Tales pack containing fabric, buttons, materials, and plenty of instructions to keep our popular group running at home and boost creativity during this time. These carefully chosen packs have something for all the family, with resources for adults and children alike, and upcoming ideas include space, art and history themes. These will include poetry led by writer Michelle Scally Clarke, textiles led by artist Carine Brosse and a postcard project led by artist Kevin Hickson.

Although we may have a little more freedom, it’s important to remember that many in our communities are still struggling. As part of the Orion partnership and working with Touchstone and Leeds City Council, we have been continuing to support the Leeds Cares Volunteering Scheme, co-ordinating volunteers to get support to people who need it during the pandemic. This has ranged from, food shopping, delivering food parcels, collecting prescriptions and friendly phone calls. Thus far we have dealt with 650 referrals over the past ten weeks, or around 65 a week – a huge help to those in need. We would like to give a huge thank you to all the volunteers who have given their time to make somebody’s day a little brighter.

The Manbassador Project has also adapted to our changing circumstances. The current array of information available can be overwhelming and inaccessible, so we’ve created a lockdown ‘zine for East Leeds, a small piece that’s big on information. Around 1500 newsletters have been distributed to our fantastic Manbassador businesses, ranging from pharmacies and community hubs to newsagents and fish & chip shops. The full newsletter is also available to access on our website, which can be found here [link]. It’s packed full of tales from the lockdown, local radio, advice and services - with a different theme every fortnight!

As always, maintaining community cohesion and mental wellbeing remains paramount during what is still an ever-changing period. We hope everyone is able to stay as safe as they can and still able to find some positives in these unprecedented circumstances.

With very best wishes,
The Space 2 team x