Dear resident,

I hope that you’re well.

One of the things that has made me so proud of Leeds over the last few months is the way that all our communities have pulled together to help others.

There are too many good examples to mention but the fantastic work of Barca and DAZL which you may have seen reported in national media this week, is just one example highlighting the vital role that all of our many community and third sector organisations play, especially at times like this.

As a council, we’ve been blown away by the response we’ve received from residents to our own coronavirus volunteer scheme with Voluntary Action Leeds. In total, more than 8,000 people have volunteered their time to help protect the most vulnerable people in our city and it has been a privilege to help co-ordinate.

Whether you’re doing your bit by supporting one of these organisations, helping your neighbours, or by staying at home to stop the spread of the virus—this crisis has shown how brilliant the people of Leeds really are.

On behalf of Leeds City Council, I would like to thank you all.

Being a good neighbour

You don’t have to be a registered volunteer to lend a hand. Many people have also come forward to help and support their neighbours. Providing you’re fit and well and keep yourself safe, you can help your neighbours by doing one of the following:

  • offering to collect groceries or medicines and delivering them to their doorstep
  • keeping in touch with them via phone or social media
  • helping to walk the pet of someone that can’t leave home

For more tips and advice, check out the “Being a Good Neighbour” guide , created in partnership with Voluntary Action Leeds.

Voluntary Action Leeds has also launched a new series of blog posts to support communities and neighbourliness – you can have a look here.

Food deliveries

More than 10,000 food parcels have been delivered to vulnerable people in Leeds as part of an unprecedented emergency food distribution programme.

Working with our partners from across the public, private and third sectors—including food and hunger charity FareShare—Leeds City Council is now delivering hundreds of parcels every day to families and individuals that are shielding, self-isolating or vulnerable and in need of support.

If you’re a business or resident and would like to support this service, you can donate food or money to FareshareYorkshire online.

Domestic violence – worried about someone?

Are you worried about someone who might be living in an abusive household? Family and friends are advised to reach out if they are concerned about anyone during this time by using the helplines available.

Visit our website for more information and guidance or alternatively you can ring 101 or 999 for emergencies.

Social distancing

In order to protect yourself and others from coronavirus it is important that we all continue to keep our distance.

Only leave your home for essential items such as food or medicine, to go to work, or exercise. If you do leave your home remember to stay at least 2 metres from those you don’t live with.

Your NHS is still here for you

It’s important that you’re aware of any changes to your body and that if you notice anything different, you contact your GP practice. Unexplained symptoms can sometimes be an early sign of cancer or another underlying health condition.

You should call 999 for life-threatening emergencies and you’ll be treated in a safe, low risk environment. Please don’t put your health at risk.

Find out more here

Together apart

To help share stories of how different communities have pulled together a new website has launched enabling people to share their experiences. Do you know someone who has gone above and beyond? Let’s get Leeds on the map. Share your story and get involved here

Let’s talk loneliness

Looking after your mental wellbeing is just as important as looking after your physical health which is why the UK Government has launched a major effort to tackle loneliness and social isolation. The “Lets Talk Loneliness” campaign encourages everyone to talk openly about loneliness. Visit the campaign website to find useful tips and advice on how to look after yourself and others safely.

And finally…

Our library buildings may be closed but the library service remains open. We’ve been adding to online collections so that there are now even more eBooks, eAudio, eMagazines, comics, newspapers, online learning and digital resources for library members to enjoy.

If you’re a Leeds resident and aren’t yet a library member, you can register online. Browse our digital collection and find out more on our website.

Useful links

Help for people and communities [leeds.gov.uk]

NHS health advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) [nhs.uk]

Information on latest government advice [gov.uk

Report your symptoms to help the NHS [nhs.uk]

Call our helpline on 0113 378 1877 if you’re self-isolating and don’t have friends or family nearby who can help. Our phonelines are open 9AM – 6PM, Monday – Sunday and our volunteers can help you with shopping, transport to medical appointments, or a call to check how you are.