The past year has been a difficult time for everyone, especially for the vulnerable and those who have health conditions, are self-isolating or struggling financially.
Staff at Rykneld Homes have worked to do as much as possible to support our customers, whether delivering food parcels or offering welfare calls.
Here are some of the ways we have helped during the Covid-19 pandemic - in partnership with other organisations and community groups.
Back in March 2020, when the Government announced the first lockdown, Rykneld Homes helped to set up a food distribution service with support from local communities, North East Derbyshire District Council, Parish Councils and supermarkets.
A network of donation drop off points was established across the district to support vulnerable people who were unable to leave their homes. Donations were collected and then sorted by Rykneld Homes ready for distribution by our drivers.
The public response was fantastic, and we would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported us. A total of 86 emergency parcels were delivered to people across the district.
Thanks to everyone’s generosity we were able to donate additional food to foodbanks and soup kitchens. Tokkie from the Living Hope food bank in Holmewood said: "We are so grateful to Rykneld Homes for the support provided, we know it’s going to help people who are in dire need during these uncertain times".
Rykneld Homes and the Council also teamed up with Derbyshire County Council to deliver relief parcels, further supporting vulnerable people across the district.
Although the lockdown affected normal service delivery, staff continued to work with many making welfare calls to our most vulnerable customers. We wanted to find out if people needed additional support such as food parcels. To help tackle loneliness we were also able to offer books, arts activity packs, games and DVDs.
We continued to speak with our most vulnerable customers on a regular basis and this contact was a lifeline to many residents who felt isolated and lonely.
During the on-going pandemic we are supporting new community and mutual aid groups that have been established and we continue to support many existing voluntary groups that we work with. It came as no surprise to us that so many people volunteered their time to helping others because we know what amazing community spirit there is in North East Derbyshire.
Our Community Involvement Team has been supporting food projects in the district that support vulnerable families.
The organisation Feeding Britain believes that three million children in the UK are at risk of going hungry during the school holidays when they would usually have access to a free hot meal. Rykneld Homes has supported Holiday Hunger projects for several years and we have continued to build on this commitment by supporting communities to set up access to free or affordable food.
During the school holidays the Community Involvement Team have packed up and handed out hundreds of free food parcels, books, arts/craft packs, and sports equipment to children in Grassmoor and Mickley and most recently Eckington. We will continue to support these brilliant community projects which are made possible by voluntary groups, FareShare, Rural Action Derbyshire and local supermarkets.
At Christmas, working with Eckington Parish Council and Eckington Business Development Company, we helped to set up a brand-new project which provided food parcels and a Christmas present to 59 children. Building on the success of this project and with community volunteers onboard the doors to Eckington Community Pantry are now open! This community shop will provide high quality food to customers at affordable prices.
If you are interested in volunteering, setting up a new project or would like to find out where your local food project is please contact the Community Involvement Team. See contact details on this page.
To raise people’s spirits, Rykneld Homes commissioned Bonkers the Clown to deliver a Covid secure roadshow around the Mickley estate. Bonkers provided entertainment to residents by performing a range of socially distanced circus skills which people could watch from the safety of their doorstep. We received fantastic feedback; it was lovely to hear that so many families enjoyed this experience.