Help and hope given to Leeds communities in response to pandemic

The Lord Mayor of Leeds Online Thank You Awards has honoured a church led project in the Parish of Pudsey for its caring response to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Pudsey Community Project, launched by the parish church in March 2020, was set up to coordinate local volunteer responses across the town and surrounding area. It links goodwill and generosity with needs, especially for people who are isolated, quarantined or anxious.

Since March last year the project has provided tens of thousands of food and toiletry parcels to people isolating or struggling, including older people living alone, struggling families, single parents, and women fleeing domestic abuse.

Moving words of support were offered by local councillors at the online awards, with the Lord-Lieutenant of West Yorkshire and High Sheriff of West Yorkshire both noting the huge and varied response the project has given in supporting vulnerable and isolated people in the community.

“’Be proud’ we were told, ‘you have acted because you care, and you have made a real difference in your area,’” said the Revd Richard Dimery, vicar at Pudsey Parish Church.

“As well as food and toiletries, we have collected and delivered prescriptions, run a befriending scheme, operated a jigsaw library, shopped for people isolating – and we run a children’s clothes bank with thousands of items, from new born babies clothes to 11 year olds’ including primary and secondary school uniform. 

“We have been able to do this through local people’s donations, grant funding and a supportive relationship with Leeds City Council.

“The project has been set up by and based at Pudsey Parish Church, but is a wider community project. We are linked in to schools, children’s centres, local charities and we’re the city council’s designated project for an area covering 20,000 households in outer west Leeds. 

“We want to offer and coordinate help and hope, and to help manage the community response to support those most vulnerable during this health emergency.” 

The Pudsey Community Project is now an independently registered charity, with its own part time worker who coordinates the six-days-a-week operation and manages a small army of sorting volunteers and delivery drivers – half of whom are from the church, half from the wider community.

In the future, organisers are looking to plan and develop projects working in mental health and youth provision when restrictions eventually allow. 

Find out more about the Pudsey Community Project by visiting their website - www.pudseycommunity.org.uk
 

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