WiSE reflects on ‘year like no other’ 12 months on from first lockdown

A charity on the frontline of helping isolated older people in Wetherby during the pandemic has revealed the full breadth of its work, as it reflects on a year’s activity since the UK’s first lockdown.

Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE) has made nearly 5,000 wellbeing calls to people shielding alone, delivered 15 editions of activity packs to keep more than 100 older people entertained and organised dozens of online sessions from line dancing to singing to keep spirits high.

An unprecedented 12 months for the charity also saw its army of volunteers and tiny team of paid staff deliver food and medicine to vulnerable people of all ages, after being made a Voluntary Action Leeds and Leeds City Council referral hub.

All of this came on top of the charity’s day-to-day work supporting older people throughout Wetherby and its surrounding villages, which includes befriending visits and information and advice sessions- all of which had to be delivered remotely.

WiSE used grant funding from local and national government and local councillors to enhance deliveries made on behalf of local foodbanks with fresh produce.

WiSE Chief Operating Officer Mark Dobson, said: “The last 12 months really have been a year like no other for us a charity, but I just feel so incredibly proud of the way our staff and volunteers have stepped up to help people in their hour of greatest need.

“Like many charities on the frontline of caring for isolated, older people we’ve had to adapt very quickly- suspending or transferring of our core activities online the moment the first lockdown was announced, whilst also taking on new tasks to make sure vulnerable people in Wetherby and Harewood were getting the support they needed.”

WiSE’s efforts during the pandemic were acknowledged with a special award by the Lord Mayor of Leeds Cllr Eileen Taylor, after the charity was nominated for recognition by local councillors.

Wetherby in Support of the Elderly (WiSE) is a registered charity organisation part funded by Leeds City Council.  Its aim is to improve quality of life for the over 60s by providing community based activities, information, help and support.

For more information, or to donate, visit www.w-ise.org.uk

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