The Lord Mayor of Leeds, Cllr Asghar Khan hosted a celebration event on Monday 09 May 2022 to recognise the amazing work and leadership of staff from across the health and social care system throughout the pandemic.

The invaluable contributions from Leeds’ diverse and vibrant third sector provided more joined up working than ever before as the whole Leeds health and care system joined together as #TeamLeeds.

The event was used to thank the staff and volunteers who give so much to the city and it’s communities. The work to cultivate relationships with communities was highlighted, building upon existing strengths, addressing challenges, tackling inequalities and supporting communities to thrive.

The skills, expertise and dynamism of the diverse third sector was also highlighted, particularly the small grassroots organisations who provide vital connections to our most under-served communities.

Proud to be part of #TeamLeeds!

The Forum Central team provided ongoing support to the Health and Care Third Sector throughout the covid pandemic; advocating for the sector in strategic forums and helping colleagues across the sector to access the information, tools and resources in support of the community response.

Some examples of our work include:

  • Providing ongoing, accessible communications through a range of cross-sector and specialist outputs such as newsletters, web information and videos.
  • Administration of covid small grants, enabling colleagues in the Third Sector to tailor key covid messaging to better meet the needs of our least served communities
  • Working with partners to rapidly mobilise the Communities of Interest Network; and develop complementary tools and resources to capture real time insight from communities who experience the greatest health inequalities across the different stages of the pandemic.
    • But, also making sure that system partners are receiving the information in a useable format and taking actions to address key issues (e.g. installation of Mi-fi units for Gypsy and Traveller communities)
  • Working with system partners to provide the third sector with parity of access to PPE, covid testing and vaccinations; supporting essential third sector services to continue while under the greatest pressure
  • Development of the Hey Neighbour grants programme and giving grants of between £100 and £500 to people in Leeds to do something that brings together a neighbourhood or community to improve their wellbeing.
  • Working with Leeds City Council and Leeds Older People’s Forum to develop and deliver the RU OK telephone befriending service.

This video that tells the story of ‘Leeds Moving Together’ across the pandemic:

Community Care Hubs

In March 2020, Voluntary Action Leeds, Leeds City Council and 27 Third Sector organisations came together to form a new partnership and set up the Community Care Hubs across Leeds. The people in the Hubs worked tirelessly to provide practical and emotional support to people and communities throughout the pandemic providing help with:

  • Shopping
  • Picking up prescriptions
  • Providing welfare calls
  • and much much more.

Community Champions

In partnership with Voluntary Action Leeds and Leeds City Council, Forum central developed the Covid-19 Community Champions programme to help communities share clear accessible information about covid19 and the vaccine in a way which helps people feel supported, make informed choices, and stay safe.

This short video that tells the story of how this great collaborative working across the city has made a huge difference to the people of Leeds :

People of Leeds

HealthWatch Leeds’ work with Third Sector and system partners has been a vital part of the Leeds response. Over the course of the pandemic Healthwatch and colleagues in the People’s Voices Group  have worked tirelessly to generate insight from our communities and reflect this back to system partners in clear and accessible ways; enabling action to be taken.

Healthwatch Leeds’ have helped bring the voices of people of Leeds closer to the decision making process throughout the pandemic, through their weekly check-ins and a range of mechanisms which generate and report peoples experience.  Examples include:

  • Weekly checkins, documenting ‘How does it feel for me during Covid 19’, which covered themes including Mental health and pregnancy during lockdown.
  • Working with the Communities of Interest network to support Leeds n become a more digitally inclusive city for all.
  • Generating insight around the experiences of care home staff and capturing thoughts of how things could be made better for staff, residents and relatives.