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NEWS ROUNDUP: Leeds COVID-19 support still available



Whilst government advice to shield at home was paused earlier this month, local support is still available for the 55,000 people in Leeds who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus to help them feel and stay safe.

Over the past year, Leeds City Council has offered support to all those advised to shield to help with the range of difficulties that shielding has posed. This has included them helping over 7,000 people to access food safely, being on the end of the phone for over 37,000 support calls, as well as taking the time to listen to clinically extremely vulnerable people about how they are feeling.

As transmission rates of the virus lower and more clinically extremely vulnerable people have taken up the opportunity for vaccination – it was decided nationally that the advice to shield at home could be safely lifted. However, many people remain anxious about the ongoing pandemic, and many more are suffering the physical and mental consequences of spending much of the last year shielding.

Leeds City Council, working with a wide range of local groups across the city are committed to ensuring that the right range of practical and emotional support remains in place for these people.

This includes the offer of buddying up for those anxious about returning to shop in supermarkets or who are worried about getting out and about safely as more of the city opens up.

Specific classes are being put on for those who’ve lost some of their physical confidence and want some expert assistance in regaining their strength.

Peer support and counselling is being made available to those who feel that they need to talk through their experiences of the last year, and financial support and advice is being offered to people whose finances have been impacted by shielding, to support them to get back on track.

A range on informal activities are also being developed by the city’ Community Care Hubs and Neighbourhood Networks. These include photography walks, allotment courses, arts and crafts sessions, digital skills development, tai chi, coffee mornings and much more, all with the aim of allowing clinically vulnerable people ‘covid-safe’ spaces.

Additionally, all Leeds residents are being encouraged to help clinically extremely vulnerable people to feel safe by continuing to follow the rules and practice safe behaviours.

Leeds City Council continues to offer a wide range of support to those clinically extremely vulnerable to the virus, including help with accessing food and medication, getting online and emotional support. For more information, visit our website at: www.leeds.gov.uk/shielding

Anyone concerned or anxious about the changes to shielding can call the Leeds coronavirus helpline at 0113 376 0330 or talk to your GP.



These adorable before and after pictures show the remarkable recovery of a terrier whose fur was so matted he couldn't see or move.

When Frankie, a four-year-old Westie-cross, was rescued he was filthy and covered in tight, knotted matts of fur all over his body, meaning he could barely walk.

The coat was so thick around his head he struggled to see, RSPCA inspectors said.

But now he has found his forever home with Tracey Williamson, who had previously vowed never to get another dog after her own Westie died when she was 15.

However, when her daughter spotted Frankie on the RSPCA’s website, it was love at first sight and the pampered pooch is now firmly a part of the family.

Tracey said: “My heart melted when I saw his photo. He looked like our late dog and we completely fell in love with him.

"We submitted an application and kept our fingers crossed but weren’t holding out much hope as we knew how much interest there had been in rescue dogs during lockdown.”

Frankie was rescued by RSPCA inspectors in August last year when he was found abandoned with another dog - a fellow terrier called Benny - in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire.

He was taken into the charity’s Warrington branch before being transferred to RSPCA Leeds and Wakefield branch for urgent care.

Frankie needed a major haircut and groom to get rid of all of his filthy, matted fur.

In September 2020, Tracey and her family were asked to go and meet Frankie and were matched with him.

Tracey, from Leeds, added: “We were so excited when we were chosen to adopt him.

"He’s settled in really well. He can be a little nervous of new things but he’s really growing in confidence.

"When we first got him he was quite anxious on the lead and going out and about but now he absolutely loves his walks.

“It’s such a huge transformation from the matted little dog who arrived at the RSPCA centre in such a state.

"It breaks our hearts to think how he was treated before and we hope, in time, that he’ll forget about his past.

“Now he gets very spoiled and loves a bit of pampering.

"He goes to the groomer regularly and really enjoys the fuss and attention he gets. He’s a little star when he has a haircut.

“He’s such a lovely dog, he’s so affectionate and we couldn’t imagine our lives without him."

The family are still helping to build Frankie's confidence and are working with a trainer to help with his reactivity around other dogs.

They have also started to introduce him to toys and teach him how to play.

Tracey added: "I don’t think anyone has ever played with him before as he doesn’t really understand what toys are.

“But we’re going to try to introduce him to games and teach him how to have fun.

“He’s brought us so much joy and love, especially during lockdown, so we’re determined to do the same for him.”

(SWNS | Ashley Pemberton)

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