This is the second blog in our series highlighting #PositivePartnerships in the city. These blogs will look back on a breadth of examples and reflect on shared themes from the previous two weeks. Written by Development Worker for the Mental Health and Physical and Sensory Impairment Specialisms, Karen Fenton.

In these extraordinary times the power of collaboration and a willingness to work together for the greater good of the people of Leeds is very evident to me; as I’m sure it is for my colleagues also working in the infrastructure organisations across the city. We have a privileged helicopter view of the amazing work our Third Sector colleagues and partners are doing on the ground.

Over the course of the last 10-14 days, I’ve caught up with representatives from over 50 of our member organisations during various 1-2-1 and group calls and have been really encouraged by the level of creativity, adaptability and commitment from those I’ve spoken to. There’s an abundance of examples of #PositivePartnerships between organisations and communities from within such a short time frame.

People have been reflecting and highlighting to me how they’ve noticed this situation bringing out other important skills and hidden talents within teams and colleagues such as: empathy, excellent communication skills, Digital and IT knowledge, artistic flare and the skill and ingenuity to create delicious meals from a hotchpotch of donated ingredients!

 

We’ve also seen members featured in local newspaper articles in the last few weeks highlighting positive partnership practise between so many organisations working closely together to provide vital mental health support.

Food distribution

Food was again a large recurring theme. We saw some great examples of community-based organisations sourcing, prepping and cooking culturally and dietary appropriate meals and food boxes for the people they work with. 

A huge volume of Food Aid is being distributed in partnership with local suppliers and producers. Much of this work is being done by volunteers, many of whom are furloughed and wanting to do something meaningful with their time or giving up their lunch breaks to help, such as our very own Daisy here at Holbeck Together.

Creatively addressing loneliness and boredom
There have been some really great examples of organisations working together to address boredom, isolation and improve both physical and mental health and wellbeing, as well as organisations finding creative, positive ways to boost team moral and wellbeing during these difficult times.

 

Digital connections and accessibility
20th April saw the beginning of Leeds Digital Festival, perfectly timed to capture some of the fast moving and vitally important work happening in partnership across the city enabling people to become and remain digitally connected during this remote time.

As we enter our 7th week of lockdown, the examples of #PositivePartnerships we see are increasing in focus towards connecting people and maintaining our collective levels of hope and positivity despite all the difficulties we are facing and witnessing within organisations and for individuals too.

There’s been kindness shown in every example here and many more, in the variety of ways our collective actions show we care for each other and create opportunities for wellbeing conversations.

As the lockdown and extended shielding continues, “Are you ok?” will become even more of an important question to ask those around us. The Mindwell Leeds team has been busy creating a Coronavirus Mental Health Information Hub combining all of the current service provision and other helpful tips and information.

 

Looking ahead…
What plans do you have for the coming weeks to create and maintain #positivepartnerships? Are you finding it more or less challenging to create connections in this new way of working?
We would love to hear from you! Please continue to share your examples with the Forum Central Team via email, phone and social media using #TogetherLeeds #PostivePartnerships @MyForumCentral.