Leeds charity supporting isolated older people makes 4,000 vital 'wellbeing calls' this year
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Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE) has seen demand for its services rocket this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, despite being forced to suspend many of its usual activities.
The charity is part-funded by Leeds City Council and aims to improve quality of life for the over 60s by providing community activities, information, help and support.
As well as the regular wellbeing calls, the charity has made 400 deliveries of food and medicine, 370 information and advice sessions and 800 telephone befriending sessions this year.
It has provided online line dancing sessions and activity packs to help keep 110 older people busy with puzzles, games and reading during long months of shielding.
After its face-to-face groups and activities were cancelled in March, the charity stepped up to deliver food parcels, shopping and prescriptions to people of all ages.
The charity coordinated the volunteer effort across Harewood and Wetherby to ensure people got access to food through referrals to Leeds City Council's online portal.
WiSE was recently presented with a special award by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Eileen Taylor in recognition of its efforts during the pandemic so far.
Mark Dobson, Operations Manager at WiSE, said: “We’re a small charity that’s punched above our weight to deliver much-needed help to isolated during a pandemic which has wrought havoc to our normal, day-to-day schedule of support.
"These figures really illustrate the difference a committed group of fantastic volunteers and a tiny number of dedicated staff can make to older people in a year that’s been like no other.
“Of course, we’ve had to adapt our work and think creatively about the way we deliver our core services, with understandable limits to our face-to-face engagement.
"But whether it’s making a quick phone call to break someone’s loneliness, delivering food to someone who simply can’t get out to the shops or sending someone puzzles to keep them entertained I couldn’t be prouder of the impact we’ve made in an otherwise difficult year.”
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