Volunteers have been helping to support communities across Leicester during the coronavirus pandemic.
Delivering and prepping food parcels, providing a friendly listening ear to isolated elderly people and chatting to residents – while observing social distancing rules – are just some of the jobs being done by De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s volunteer students and staff.
DMU’s public engagement team, DMU Local, is working with E2 Learning in Beaumont Leys, Leicester, on projects that help some of the city’s most vulnerable citizens.
So far more than 200 students and staff have signed up to volunteer their time and skills to help at this unprecedented time. DMU has offered staff the chance to volunteer during work hours - you can sign up or find out more by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Gale, DMU’s international student support officer, is one of the volunteers. He is joining E2’s Street Co-ordinators team. He said: “There’s lots to be done, and this is a good opportunity to get involved and to be of help to vulnerable people in the community.
“I’m going to visiting households to check if people need support and assistance. I’m looking forward to helping out, even if it’s just in a small way.”
E2’s street co-ordinator team knock on doors throughout the community, checking if people are okay, if they need anything and are able to sign post them to support. The visits provide a lifeline to people who are unable to leave their homes.
Catherine Evans, a DMU Design Crafts graduate who is now working full-time at E2, is part of the team organising the community response.
She said: “We’re feeding up to 100 families a day five days a week with the food parcels, and the kitchen team reckon they’ve made 3,000 meals a month. I think people are coming together over this.
“I love being a street co-ordinator. We have a chat, ask people if they are OK and people really appreciate it. There are some people who live on their own who haven’t seen anyone. One woman we spoke to said she hadn’t seen anyone for five weeks.
* Interested in volunteering? Find out more here
* How DMU is supporting the city right now
* Coronavirus FAQs for students
“We want to give people the opportunity to help so we match what they are good at to what’s needed. Some people are really confident and chatty so we have them making phone calls or being street co-ordinators. Others prefer to drive and deliver food.
“There are some communities here that really look out for each other. It would be lovely if just a part of this continues carried forward in some way.”
Street co-ordinators work Thursdays and Fridays from 9.30am to 3pm – people can volunteer for the whole day, or half a day. Drivers are needed in the afternoons, and people who want to help prep and pack food parcels tend to be morning volunteers.
Mark Charlton, DMU’s Associate Director of Public Engagement said: “Our partners at E2 in Beaumont Leys are doing a fantastic job in providing meals and supporting residents and we have been happy to help in any way we can.
"DMU has been part of Leicester for 150 years and we're committed to supporting the city during this unprecedented time. Whether it's through our students and staff volunteering or our academics using their expertise to try to anticipate the challenges Leicester may face in the coming months, we are a resource for the community."
Laura Rowe, one of the public engagement team at DMU, spent Saturday working in the kitchens at E2. She sad: "It was a fantastic day. We managed to make around 100 meals to be sent out into the community."
Posted on Monday 27th April 2020