Happy New Year

Happy New Year
A letter from our CEO

1st January 2021

A letter from our CEO: Happy New Year!

Dan takes a look back at what we have achieved in our first year.

Happy New Year

2020 won't be missed by many people, it will however go down in the history books and our children and Grandchildren will no doubt learn about the challenges we have faced in school in years to come.

But 2020 isn't all bad - so many good things have come out of such a bad year, we've gathered in our front gardens, leaning out of windows at 8pm on a Thursday to clap, cheer, sing, play musical instruments all to show our support for the amazing NHS and Care sector workers, Captain Tom walking with his zimmer frame to raise more than £32m for NHS charities, Marcus Rashford campaigned to make sure that our kids didn't go hungry, two vaccines have been developed which will hopefully bring our lives back to what we are more familiar with and for people in Tingley, Ardsley and Thorpe - WF3 Kindness was born, and it's this highlight of 2020 that I'm going to focus on...

Although we don’t have a full 12 months to look back on (we only sprung to life in March!), we do have 297 days under our belt and in that time we have managed to achieve some great things...actually nearly 3,000 ‘things’.

On the 8th March, we started off on our mission to ‘spread viral kindness’ across Tingley, Ardsley and Thorpe. The objective was simple- to connect those in our community in need, with those in our community who could help!

We kicked off with a leaflet drop of 5000 leaflets in just 3 days in the area, the leaflets advertised our website, a phone helpline number and had space for people distributing the leaflets to add their name and phone number for their neighbours to call for help. It was ‘community spirit’ at its best, with people who had lived as neighbours for years but not really spoke, becoming friends and helping each other in their hour of need.

With many people needing help, and more offering it, we went on to establish WF3 Kindness and, thanks to a link up with Morley and District Lions Club, gained charity status in April.

In just under our 10 months of existence we have helped over 2,800 people in a variety of ways:
Over 850 shopping trips and prescriptions collected;
18 dogs walked;
132 Food Parcels provided;
Supported 3 local Food Banks and directed requests to them for people in our area in need;
196 Kindness Packages given to brighten someone’s day;
Donated 520 handmade gifts for NHS & Care workers - Items such as laundry bags, scrub hats, masks holders all produced by the Tingley Sewing team;
645 Gift Bags/Packs for NHS staff and patients - Toiletries, magazines, books, sweet treats etc. Including at Pinderfields Hospital;
Given away 200 handmade face masks to key workers in the area - all made by volunteers from around the community;
Given away 50 pairs of Matching Hearts - ‘Matching Hearts’ provide a connection between sick patients and those who can’t visit them, they can also be used to leave with a loved one that has passed away whilst a family member keeps the other;
Helped 86 people with signposting for who to contact for queries relating to benefits and financial support;
Assisted 34 people with employability support- Provided help and advice on updating CV’s and completing application forms for those searching for work;
Purchased presents for 4 children in the community who were recognised as in need;
Offered Emotional Support through a registered counsellor;
Provided a network of local businesses offering their services to people in the area for free or at a special rate for those in Tingley, Ardsley and Thorpe;
Linked up with WF3 Freecycle Group (Give and Gain) - a Facebook group for Tingley, Ardsley and Thorpe where people can advertise their unwanted belongings and recycle to someone local - it’s strictly no selling and is purely for free, a great way to reuse and recycle;
Made ourselves available to provide Half-Term Packed Lunches for children who were on school holidays and who’s parents/carers were struggling;
1x Community Defibrillator - Fundraised for a defibrillator to be purchased and installed outside the British Oak on Westerton Road early 2021;
1x Specialised Trike - Contributed to the cost of a specialised mobility Trike for a local child;
Created The Best of WF3 Awards - With 41 finalists, we want to recognise and celebrate the heroes of our community;
Won a top regional award - We won a Yorkshire Big Thank You Award in December, finishing off 2020 on a high.

We have reached over 73,100 people through our social media channels, that’s more than 73 THOUSAND people that have read or watched something that we’ve posted about our amazing community.

I wasn't the best in the class for Maths, but even I can see that these numbers are impressive!! We have made a genuine difference to so many local people, and whilst we have not done a full 12 months, we do think that we are deserving of our ‘end of the year celebrations and sign-off’. We would not have been able to do the things that we have without the support of many people in our area and further afield.

Every single person that has donated money to our campaigns, whether that was the Kindness Packages Appeal, the Defibrillator Campaign, the Food Parcels Project or the toiletry amnesty - you have all made our work possible, we simply could not have done what we have without your support!

We are lucky to have the support of several local businesses who have been so generous and supportive and at a time when they, themselves are going through a period of uncertainty. We can really be proud of the businesses that call Tingley, Ardsley and Thorpe their home.

I am proud to be a member of Morley & District Lions Club and will be forever grateful to them for their unwavered support throughout our first year, without their advice and guidance we would not have achieved these remarkeable numbers. The club are always looking for new members, if you would like to find out more about Morley & District Lions Club and become involved in the work we do in this area, drop me a line and we can have a chat. It would be fantastic to see new members in the new year to help steer the work we do.

A special mention to my own family, I said this recently but I want to repeat it - we have sacrificed a lot over the last 9 months, Sarah has packaged up and delivered nearly 200 kindness hampers across WF3. She has run around various supermarkets looking for that one item that someone we are shopping for has asked for, she has had to keep our 4 year old son, Oliver, occupied whilst I am working or on the phone - and she has done all this without any recognition. Oliver has also been amazing, he's helped with jobs and enjoys chatting to and drawing pictures for the people that we are supporting, I was lucky to be named a winner in the Big Yorkshire Thank You awards a few weeks ago, but without the help of so many that would not have been possible.

We have some grand plans for the year ahead with more community defibrillators, we are looking to make the area better for everyone and we aim to continue our support to the most vulnerable within our community. We are growing our connections and looking forward to working with more amazing people who care and what to add value to the areas in which we live, work and walk,

Whilst this year has been incredibly tough for all of us, with some suffering more than others, we can hopefully look forward to the year ahead for more familiar surroundings and we can look to getting back to something like what our lives were like pre-covid.

Thanks to everyone that has supported us so far, let’s stick together and help one another. There’s no denying that the one thing that can get us through the challenges ahead is PEOPLE, the more people we have helping - the more we can do; the more people that donate - the more we can achieve; the more people that share our posts - the more people know about us.

Stick with us and look after your area, it’s Tingley, Ardsley, Thorpe, it’s where you go to work or where you head for a walk, it’s where you live! If we can make life that little bit better for people in the area, that in turn will make the area that little bit better for us all.

2021... let’s be having you!

Thank you and all the best to you all for the year ahead.