Burnley Together is a community hub, ran by staff and volunteers, and was formed in March 2020 by several partners to provide support to those in the community who were facing issues caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
Over the past three months, the outcomes and service provided has been enormous. The team have been busy assisting people in many different ways, such as delivering food parcels to those who can’t access food due to shielding, disabilities or financial issues, assisting with collecting prescription and dog walking, providing mental health support, helping to prevent loneliness and advising with debt, housing and financial concerns.
Along with the official partners, including Burnley Council, The Calico Group, Burnley FC in the Community, Burnley, Pendle and Rossendale Council for Voluntarily Service, Lancashire County Council and Burnley Leisure Trust, the hub has been supported by charities, faith groups, volunteers and businesses in the local area, providing an inclusive, non-judgemental and community spirited service.
Burnley FC in the Community, Burnley FC’s official charity, has worked closely with Burnley Together to deliver the foodbank service since lockdown commenced in March.
Burnley FC in the Community staff, along with the help of Burnley FC staff and other volunteers, have been based at the Burnley Community Kitchen. From there, food donations are stored in the warehouse and on a daily basis, staff have created food parcels to be delivered to households across the town.
Since social distancing measures were put in place, demand for the service increased to unprecedented levels. From March 23rd, the foodbank has delivered 1,588 parcels, feeding 3,600 people..
Over the past three months, as well as operating the foodbank, BFCitC has also managed food collection points in stores across the local area and run a campaign for supporters to donate to the foodbank, which has now raised over £20k.
Burnley Leisure Trust is another one of the founding partners of Burnley Together. Since March 2020, they have travelled 2,500 miles distance delivering to local residents for foodbank, supported various local food banks in delivering and collecting supplies with Ghausia Foodbank, CVS Foodbank, Gannow Community Centre Foodbank and Community Kitchen Foodbank.
They have also packed over 3000 food parcels and hampers for local authorities, care sector and key workers during the pandemic and all 3 BL vans have been used for delivery of food parcels as part of Burnley Together along with 15 volunteers working 5 days a week to drive and deliver parcels.
They have utilised volunteers from all parts of their business, including, Burnley Mechanics Theatre, St Peters Centre, Padiham Leisure Centre, Towneley Golf Club, Sports Development, Prairie Sports Village and Active Streets.
Wellbeing and making mental and physical health has been more important than ever before recently, so the team have focused on ensuring that they can assist people to help themselves stay active and well.
To date, they have hosted more than 60 live fitness classes and shared 250 workout videos, with 24 videos a week being produced on average. Alongside this, they have shared and created various recipes, blogs, quizzes and puzzles and have provided an information hub for all local community needs.
Since the start of lockdown, Burnley Pendle & Rossendale Council for Voluntary Service (BPRCVS), has received over 1200 referrals from Burnley Together and with a number of people requiring more than one form of support.
BPRCVS have handled almost 800 food support requests for which they have either provided food parcels, helped to order from local stores, used volunteers to collect and deliver, allocated volunteers to go shopping at supermarkets, or referred into foodbanks, including Gannow Food Share programme at Gannow Community Centre.
Gannow Community Centre has been busy serving l anyone in need throughout Burnley with free emergency food parcels. At its peak, the centre was helping more than 300 families and individuals.
Burnley Together volunteers have also collected and delivered nearly 250 prescriptions; dealt with over 140 befriending and complex needs referrals where people were feeling isolated and lonely, and suffering from poor mental wellbeing, walked 16 dogs; and supported over 100 requests for help with hospital transport, gardening, and broken household goods and appliances.
The response from the people of Burnley to answer the call for volunteers to join the response team was fantastic, with 550 applications received and 128 volunteers joined the response team. Without the support of volunteers the community hub would simply not be able to support those who need it, the community has rallied in the wake of this pandemic and by coming together, they have saved lives and helped so many.
Lockdown is gradually easing and we are past the initial peak, but that doesn’t mean that the need for support is over. The longer-term impact of the outbreak is only just beginning to surface, with issues such as people losing income whilst on furlough, job losses and school closures causing further hardship for many people and families across all sections of the community.
Burnley Together understands that people still need help and will continue to provide this ongoing support and service for those in our community who need it the most, seven days a week.
This can be accessed in several ways:
Telephone:01282 686 402