Judith Cummins MP recently met with Gavin Humphries, a minister at Buttershaw Baptist Church and lead on the church’s youth and community work, to discuss the long-term impact that COVID-19 is having on people living in Buttershaw, Woodside and Wibsey.
The minister of Buttershaw Baptist Church told Judith about the increasing number of people who are in crisis, due to the impact of COVID-19 on their financial and mental wellbeing. He also explained how the church is filling the widening gaps that the statutory services are unable to cope with.
Also at meeting was Andy Walsh, the Chief Executive of Sandale Trust, who is working alongside Buttershaw Baptist Church in their efforts to help local people through the Covid-19 crisis.
Gavin Humphries, Buttershaw Baptist Church associate minister for Youth and Community said: “In some ways our partnership of churches and community group’s achievement of placing thousands of meals onto people’s tables has been the easy part of our joint response to COVID-19.
“The harder work starts now, as this pandemic has created a whole new group of vulnerable people who we have not seen before. I am regularly working with people whose mental health is being damaged by financial worries and the isolation that this crisis has brought.
“We are working together to protect the debt advice we have already got and seeking to put in place an extra advisor to help meet these increased needs. The good news is that the strengthened partnership that has developed between ourselves, Sandale Trust, St Aidans, St Winefrides and other local partners will help us meet the new challenges we face.”
Andy Walsh, Chief Executive Officer of Sandale Community Trust, said: "This situation is uncharted territory and probably the most challenging in my 13 years since setting up here. We’ve been overwhelmed by support from volunteers, councillors, local businesses and supermarkets.
“I’m proud of my staff who are supporting local people, and we’re pooling our resources with partners like the Footprints Family Centre and Buttershaw Baptist Church.”
Judith Cummins, Member of Parliament for Bradford South, said: “By working together in partnership, these groups are making a huge difference for people. However, I remain concerned about the impact that Government cuts have had on the services we rely on.
“I am finding that people are having to turn more and more to community groups, faith groups and charities, because the government has run public services down. As we move to the next stage of this pandemic, the government must properly fund public services and local authorities to deal with the recovery.”