BRADFORD South MP Judith Cummins has paid tribute to community and voluntary groups in Tong on the frontline of the covid-19 response.

During visits to St Christopher’s Church on Holmewood Road and the Bierley Life Centre, Mrs Cummins saw first-hand the work of staff and volunteers to provide support to the community during the coronavirus crisis.

St Christopher’s Church is delivering food to vulnerable people in isolation and providing activity packs to children and young people.

The Life Centre is also providing meals for families and virtual youth clubs are running. Families also receive a weekly fun activity pack and a meal recipe with ingredients to make at home.

The visit to St Christopher's Church

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Mrs Cummins said: “It was great to see the dedication and the hard work of staff and volunteers at St Christopher’s and Bierley Life Centre.

"They are providing essential services to the local community through this difficult time and I thank them for it.

"When this crisis is over, we must think seriously about the immense contribution of voluntary and community groups and how we can better support them in the future. I will continue to do all I can to ensure they get the funding and support they need.”

Tom Hughes, Community Champion for Tong ward, added: “It’s inspiring how local groups like the Life Centre have stepped up to support our community.

"Their work isn’t just helping people stay safe, it’s supporting wellbeing and encouraging good neighbourliness, helping the community to be stronger and more resilient long after coronavirus.”

Rev Canon Gary Hodgson from St Christopher’s Church, said he was "hugely proud" of the response of staff and volunteers.

"We have had to think outside the box from broadcasting services on YouTube to tying activity packs on the railings outside the church for parents and carers to pick up for their children," he said.

Rob Normington, Life Centre CEO, added: “Working around the problems posed by the coronavirus pandemic has certainly been a challenge.

"We have had to totally re-evaluate the way we support people. It has been a very steep learning curve, but we have successfully transformed the way that we operate.

"It has also encouraged an increase in local volunteering and a general growth in community spirit and some of the ways of working we have adopted will definitely carry forward when we get back to normal. I would also like to thank all our staff and volunteers for stepping up to the challenges posed by covid-19 and gelling together so well as one team.”

If you live in these areas, you can contact the following organisations for support if needed.

Local people are also being encouraged to volunteer with community groups such as these if they can. In Holmewood, contact Good Neighbours on 01274 689898. In Bierley, contact the Life Centre on 01274 688686.