Wellbeing through movement: our plans beyond Covid-19

As social distancing and shielding saw our walking buddy project and our community workouts put on hold, we rapidly adapted our services when lockdown was announced.

We started by making welfare calls to the people we usually walk with, and took on 130 additional referrals from the City of York Council. We also set up a prescription delivery service from scratch, which has now made over 2000 deliveries.

Both services have supported the continued wellbeing of many of York’s most vulnerable people. 

The number of people who applied to volunteer with Move the Masses also rose exponentially. 

We were absolutely blown away by how many people wanted to help in whatever way they could. We've gained so many fantastic new volunteers in the last three months who are going to continue volunteering with us long-term.  

And now, in true efficient Move the Masses style, we are in the midst of implementing our strategy to exit lockdown (at the appropriate government-lead timings).

This strategy elaborates how we will recommence our core services whilst ensuring people we have begun to support in the last three months can access the services that are right for them.

We are communicating with all our beneficiaries and finding out what ongoing support they need. 

For anyone who wants to receive ongoing contact by telephone, we'll ensure they still receive welfare calls from their usual volunteer until we are sure that they can be supported by other organisations in the city like Age UK and York Neighbours, who have such support as one of their core offerings. 

Making getting out for a walk a reality for more people

Some of our Move Mate volunteers who walk with people have alread re-paired-up with them, with additional guidelines in place. There will be a phased return for the rest of the previous pairings in our walking buddy project, with new referrals taken on in mid-July at the earliest. 

Bringing friendly chat and essential prescriptions directly to people's doors

Our prescriptions deliveries will continue as a legacy project for a number of pharmacies in York. We will be conducting this largely as regular batch delivery slots with small teams of volunteers delivering from their local pharmacies.

We will also be growing our doorstep chat service whereby volunteers offer a ‘welfare call’ face to face with isolated and shielding individuals. This new, socially distanced service alleviates loneliness and provides an additional wellbeing ‘checking-in’ system.

Real citywide partnerships for meaningful support to the most vulnerable

Throughout the whole lockdown period we have built up stronger partnerships with many of the other charities and services in the city; GoodGym, York Neighbours, the Local Area Coordination team, York CVS - ensuring our most vulnerable residents have a strong and coordinated network of support available to them long term.