Local charities gather to support Hull Helpline callers

 Lloyd Dobbs , Matt Gladstone and Jeanette Abong from Goodwin
Lloyd Dobbs, Matt Gladstone, and Jeanette Abong from Goodwin Trust’s Foodbank.

Hull charities pull together in support of the city’s most vulnerable residents, delivering food parcels and meals to Hull Helpline callers.

Unity in Community, EMS, and Goodwin Development Trust responded to a plea from Hull City Council for local groups, community services and organisations to support the COVID-19 relief efforts.

From its current service centre on Endike Lane, Unity has delivered over 700 food parcels since 7th April to people living in isolation in North Hull, The Avenues and Bransholme. It is also supporting various council projects for vulnerable residents with serious health conditions.

Paul is a delivery driver from Hull City Council with Liam Woods from Unity in Community
Paul, a delivery driver from Hull City Council, with Liam Woods from Unity in Community.

The Project Manager at Unity in Community, Liam Woods, said: “When it opened, Hull Helpline received over 150 calls per day from local residents, many of whom were panicking about where their next meal would be coming from. At the same time we were also receiving additional new enquiries via our social media platforms for our foodbank – people who were genuinely concerned that they were not able to leave their homes and would not be able to access food at all.

“As always, our team is committed to supporting residents in HU6 via our community centre, training facility and foodbank. However, as we are closed to the public at the moment, we have repurposed the building to cater for the larger quantities of food that are being delivered to us, for our team to then sort, pack and re-distribute.

“We are very proud to be able to support the council in their efforts to ensure everyone has the essential items they need.

“Our team of key-workers are working 7 days a week to help those at high risk in HU5, HU6 and HU7 to avoid contracting the virus, and ensuring that they have access to essential items including toilet paper, tinned foods and frozen items.

“Hull City Council has co-ordinated the project very efficiently and we know EMS and Goodwin have seen a significant rise in demand too.”

Hull Helpline was set-up for anyone needing extra help and living without a support network for help with shopping, dog walking, or access to other essential services.

The local authority made contact with residents identified as the most vulnerable in the city to offer support to those who need it. The Government also issued letters to 1.2m people nationally, who due to their health conditions need to take additional measures to shield themselves from contact with others.

Freedom Centre Food Parcel sorting centre
Freedom Centre Food Parcel sorting centre, on Preston Road, Hull.

Jan Boyd, CEO, EMS Ltd is supported by volunteer drivers from Hull City Council, British Gas, Northern Gas Network and Humberside Fire and Rescue.

Jan said: “The Hull Community Shop (HCS) is our affordable food project open to the public 11:00-15:00 five days per week, with food on the green shelves available for small a donation. We also run a means-tested membership scheme so residents can access up to 8 items of packet goods, toiletries or tins, for £2.00.

“We are also cooking up to 40 fresh meals per day, using the Freedom Centre kitchen. They are available from our office and currently two other community fridges located around the city.

“Our resident community gardener, John, is overseeing the food parcel service with support from the EMS Team and two very dedicated volunteers who have made 660 parcel deliveries so far.”

“I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in helping us to deliver food parcels around the East Hull area. A food parcel delivery on such a wide scale is new to us and the EMS Team and our volunteers have more that met the challenge.”

Lloyd Dobbs, Training Skills and Opportunities Manager from Goodwin Development Trust, said: “The West Hull Hub based at Goodwin has seen a significant rise in demand for food parcels and without the extra delivery drivers from Hull City Council and Humberside Fire and Rescue, we simply could not get them out. This project is a fine example of what great partnership work is all about.”

Hull City Council helpline number 01482 300307

Councillor Stephen Brady, Leader of Hull City Council, said: “The Hull Helpline was set-up very quickly. The level of support from the three foodbanks – Unity in Community, EMS and Goodwin Development Trust has been incredible. FareShare has also played a crucial role to ensure residents do not go hungry.

“The council and the city are extremely fortunate to have three organisations that have joined forces for the good of the city and help the council with its efforts to support our most vulnerable residents throughout the Coronavirus pandemic. It just shows what can be achieved when we all pull together.”

[Jess Clark – Divine Clark PR]