A charity in Leeds has been crowned as the winner of Virgin Media’s ‘Local Legends’ campaign by a prestigious judging panel for their selfless efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bramley Elderly Action, which is made up of 16 staff and around 100 pandemic volunteers, was nominated for Virgin Media’s Local Legends competition which recognises those who have made a significant contribution to their community over the past year.
The winners of Virgin Media’s Local Legends competition, which launched to celebrate the switch-on of gigabit broadband services in Leeds and surrounding areas, are awarded a tech makeover to the tune of £10,000 as well as Gig1 broadband for two years.
The charity, which started in 1994, has worked around the clock to provide vital support and activities for 1000 people aged 60 and over in Bramley, Swinnow and Stanningley in Leeds and has been a service that many are dependent on day-to-day.
They have performed a variety of vital tasks for local older people including the delivery of weekly shopping and care packages; regular video and voice calls for those in isolation; virtual quizzes, online social groups, telephone reading groups and much more.
Staff member Fran Graham said: “Everyone here is very passionate about what they do and have worked tirelessly to support those most vulnerable during these tough times. We have also been inspired by the resilience and cheerfulness of local older people in the face of this situation, and by the local community’s response in offering to help out or donating items of use.”
The charity was voted the winner for Leeds by a prestigious judging panel made up of the late Captain Sir Tom Moore, TV presenter and children’s author Konnie Huq, members from Leeds Council and a Virgin Media representative.
Konnie Huq, a member of Virgin Media’s Local Legends judging panel, added: “The Bramley Elderly Action charity performed admirably over the past year to ensure that they were able to maintain and deliver their range of essential services to their local community. So many people were able to benefit from their quirky and fun activities which were able to put a smile on faces and that’s what Virgin Media’s Local Legends competition is all about.”
Although the group of volunteers didn’t expect to be rewarded or acknowledged for the work that they do through the charity, being nominated and winning the Local Legends campaign for Leeds was a great occasion and moment for all of those involved.
Fran said: “It was incredible for the charity to be nominated, let alone to win. It’s a great accolade for all of those involved, the volunteers, the staff and all of our members. In particular, we see it as a thank you to the volunteers who have put their hearts and souls into supporting local older people.”
All of the prizes and Gig1 broadband that were part of winning the Local Legends competition for Leeds will be put to use at the charities’ base in Bramley with vital tech gadgets and devices being distributed to their users who are at home due to the ongoing lockdown.
Fran said: “We'll use the prizes to invest in more of what we do now: reducing social isolation. In particular we want to enable older people to be able to get online and socialise with others through groups we run such as our Monday sketchclub on Zoom and our Thursday Zoom quiz. The tablets, laptops and other tech appliances will make a huge difference.
Due to the ongoing lockdown, and community spirit being so important, Bramley Elderly Action are calling on people to keep an eye on those around them who may need a helping hand.
Fran said: “Take care of your neighbours - especially anyone living alone or without much support in their lives. Get to know your older neighbours – you might find you have a lot in common and you might find that helping someone else also helps you feel more positive too. And if you’d like to volunteer to help Bramley Elderly Action, please get in touch.”
Virgin Media’s Local Legends competition has also been running in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Liverpool with future locations set to be announced in the near future.