Politics pushed aside as Council Leader and opposition join up to support local communities

19/03/2020, PR-9344

Council Leader Denise Jeffery with Cllr Nadeem Ahmed outside Wakefield Town Hall
Council Leader Denise Jeffery with Cllr Nadeem Ahmed outside Wakefield Town Hall

Wakefield Council’s political leaders are joining forces to support local communities as the district pulls together in response to the coronavirus outbreak. 

In an unprecedented move, the Leader of Wakefield Council, Cllr Denise Jeffery, and Leader of Wakefield Conservative Group, Cllr Nadeem Ahmed, have pledged to come together to galvanise and support communities as well as working closely to support local food banks to continue providing vital support to residents.

All food banks in the district are part of the Food Aid Network and Cllr Jeffery and Cllr Ahmed have been making arrangements to provide them with additional food items so that they can continue operating in these difficult times.

The Council has been in contact with the Food Aid Network to understand the pressures they are facing in light of the outbreak, and providing support wherever possible to keep them open.

Leader & Opposition support local communities

Cllr Denise Jeffery said: “This is not a time for politics. Cllr Ahmed and I are very clear that we will work together on behalf of our local communities in this difficult time. We are breaking the political divide to make sure that vulnerable people are receiving the help and support that they need.

“I am very pleased to pull together on this and work as one Council for everyone in this district. We will not play politics with the response to this crisis and I hope others will follow this way of working.

“We are buying and supplying food to all the local food banks when their stock is low to make sure they can continue to operate so people have somewhere to turn in these uncertain times.

“The response to those wanting to help others across our district has been truly heart-warming. If you are able to make any donations to the food banks they would be very welcome.”

Cllr Nadeem Ahmed said: “This is absolutely the right time to work together. Cllr Jeffery and I are in agreement that we can work together, in true Yorkshire spirit, to provide a safety net for anyone who may need it. I am very pleased to be part of the Council’s response and urge everyone to put aside the politics and support the Council’s response to help our residents.”

Residents can donate to food banks at collections available in many local supermarkets, or at St Catherine’s Church in Agbrigg which will distribute items to food banks across the district. 

The Council is also working with a range of voluntary organisations in the community including Age UK, Carers Wakefield and NOVA to help and support local people during this time. In the coming weeks, volunteers will be supported to help with things like befriending, shopping and coordinating volunteering opportunities across the district.

Cllr Jeffery added: “We are also concerned for elderly and isolated residents who do not have a support network around them, and we are asking everyone to be a good neighbour and check on people around them. At the same time we are making arrangements to make sure essential items are transported to those in need.”

Up-to-date information about coronavirus and the Council’s response is available on the website at http://bit.ly/CoronaWFD