THESE are the faces of Bradford Council's coronavirus support network who are helping the district's most isolated and vulnerable in the middle of a pandemic.

The council has teamed up with charities, health experts, academics, faith organisations and hundreds of volunteers, many of whom were furloughed from their job and want to help in the efforts.

Backed by the army of Bradfordians who have volunteered, this is a behind the scenes look into how the council is operating amid a global health emergency.

For Noreen Akhtar, the Bradford West area co-ordinator, her team's emergency preparations got underway about a week before lockdown.

Since then, Noreen's neighbourhood team has been working 12 hour days and directing those in need to the right services.

And as the crisis develops, the 01274 431000 helpline number rings non-stop with requests, not just from locals but those outside the area reporting Bradfordians currently slipping under the radar and in need of food deliveries.

Video calls - organised in tiers of gold, silver and bronze teams - are taking place every morning to look at any issues with supplies or the operation and how these problems might be fixed.

Noreen told the Telegraph & Argus: "It was the week before lockdown when things really started to build a pace for me. We were looking at lockdown. What would a lockdown really look like for people over the age of 70 or what would that mean for our younger population?

"Sometimes these people weren't vulnerable but become vulnerable because of the circumstances they're in. We had to very quickly make partnerships.

"Local businesses really stepped up.

"Sometimes the only word I can put down is heroic. People have down tooled on their day jobs and just said 'Right, what is it we can do to help?'.

"It's even down to groups of two or three people who have said 'We want to give back to our city'."

Right now Noreen and her new partners are working on a befriending scheme after people of all ages called the 431000 number asking for a chat, highlighting just how isolated some members of our communities are.

A team of volunteers is being selected to call these people two or three times a week and check up on them.

It is hoped this could be rolled out and continued after the pandemic is over.

Noreen said: "We've got a lot of people who want to get in and get their hands dirty. But we had to say it's not like a flood where we can set up a community centre where it will be a hub of activity.

"There's lots of work going on. There's plans for that when lockdown is lifted.

"What we want is for people to go through the 431000 number to share their issues.

"What we want is for anyone who's really struggling, no friends, no family, no neighbours or for whatever reasons they're isolating, if they feel they can't do usual everyday tasks like get food in, ring 431000."

If you are in need of urgent help or support, please call 01274 431000.

To find out how your organisation or group could be supported by Bradford Council's volunteers please email