Making a difference
Luton is pulling together to get through this crisis
This page is dedicated to the effort taking place across our community – from here at the council to neighbourhood support groups and individual acts of kindness.
If you have a story to share, please get in touch by email [email protected].
Around 30 NHS staff at Bedfordshire hospitals now have free bicycles to travel to work on thanks to a partnership between the council, Thameslink and Sustrans, working together on the “Bikes for Bedfordshire Heroes” project.
500 laptops and tablets make their way to school children in Luton
Saying thanks with snacks
Laptops for Luton students to enable home learning
Bikes for Beds Heroes Project
Here’s a key worker with one of the 30 free bikes that we recently helped deliver to Luton and Dunstable University Hospital, working alongside Thameslink as part of the “Bikes for Bedfordshire Heroes” project.
The bikes were fully refurbished and made roadworthy by our Sustainable Travel team, ready for hospital staff to use. The bikes will help the staff get to and from work whilst maintaining social distancing and enable them to get some valuable exercise at the same time.
Let’s hear it for our community heroes!
Chief Executive Robin Porter, has paid tribute to the ‘awe-inspiring’ work of voluntary and charity groups across the town during the covid-19 emergency.
He visited just some of the incredible groups working hard to support our community last week, but has sent his heartfelt thanks to every single individual, group, charity or voluntary organisation pulling together to support the town.
From Facebook groups like the Covid-19 Community Action Support Group to organisations like Age Concern, Luton Foodbank, Discover Islam, Chaul End Eatery, Al Hikmah and Challney High schools, Safer Luton Partnership and countless more helping with shopping, hot meals and support for key workers and our most vulnerable.
Robin also paid visits to the Multi-Agency Hospital Discharge Team, led by Marilyn George, who are helping to keep our brilliant L&D functioning, the midwives who have a temporary home at the Chaul End Community Centre (pictured) and teamed up with the Visiting Superheroes, who have been visiting children having trouble with anxiety and depression and also raising money for the NHS.
“The community effort in Luton has been, quite simply, astounding”, said Robin. “It demonstrates the values of ‘Luton in Harmony’ in action, particularly as a lot of these groups cross cultures and religions and are working together for the good of the town.”
Get help with your bills
Radio listeners make waves
Luton Urban Radio has been ‘overwhelmed’ with donations after they issued a plea on behalf of some of the most vulnerable communities in Luton.
- more than 40 bags of clothes
- 20 boxes of non-perishable food, toiletries and cleaning products
Cathy the baby bank manager
Creativity is not cancelled!
- support for self-employed artists and small creative businesses to apply for emergency funding from the government, Arts Council England and other funders
- survey of the lost income experienced by local creatives to enable further advocacy
- mechanisms for artists to earn income through digital commissions
- honouring wherever possible all artist contracts to deliver artistic programmes
- rental holidays for Culture Trust creative tenants
- emotional support and advice for any creative in need of a peer to talk to
Face masks for bin crews
A lesson in giving back
A huge thank you to Stopsley High School, which has joined forces with Luton Sixth Form College to provide PPE for the NHS and local key workers.
Design Technology teacher, Adam Wise, from Stopsley High School, designed face masks to meet the government specification using materials from the school stores. After initially producing 35 face shields for local businesses, the project gathered interest.
A production team filled with volunteers from SHS and Luton Sixth made a further 220 shields with most being delivered to the Luton and Dunstable hospital.
As news of the success spread, the team received a request from the newly formed Nightingale hospital who were supplied with more than 200 face shields. As a result of the hard work and ingenuity of the team from Stopsley High School and Luton Sixth Form College, a total of 514 face shields have been delivered to help to protect those on the frontline.
A huge well done and thank you to everyone involved!!
Supporting the community
We've been supporting the community in as many ways as we possibly can. So far we've:
- made 6,791 calls to vulnerable people
- issues £15 million of support to local businesses
AMYA lends a hand
A team from AMYA also helped with the big shopping trips we made for the shielded list of extremely vulnerable people.
Wow! Thank you Discover Islam
- 10,000 NHS Visors
- Level trust stationary packs
- Level Trust survival packs
- £20 to 25k in food purchases for Luton Foodbank
- supporting Diverse FM, Crisis Aid, Lantern, Age Concern, community members with food for those self-isolating or vulnerable
- weekly food items to shelters
- significant food and toiletry items drops to hospital
- 30 day Ramadhaan essential food packs
- issuing up to 25 packs for those in need daily
- increased hot meal deliveries to Luton shelters and Luton Foodbank clients
- delivered food items to over 100 different organisations
- gifts to keys workers across services including Luton Council, Prison services, Royal Mail, care homes
- NHS wellbeing packs working in Covid-19 wards
#LutonSchoolRun raises over £25k!
On 24 April teachers and staff from 39 schools across Luton took part (virtually) in fundraising challenge #LutonSchoolRun.
Chief exec rolls his sleeves up (and gets his gloves on)
Robin Porter, chief exec of Luton Council, joined volunteers and council staff busy packing food, medication and supplies for distribution to some of the most vulnerable people in the town on Friday. He was also on hand to receive and sort personal protection equipment (PPE) for front line care staff to ensure they can carry out the vital job of caring for Luton’s elderly and vulnerable.
Drivers doing their bit
Support for our businesses
Discover some of our everyday heroes
- 15,000+ food items distributed
- 50+ organisations supported
- 10,000+ face masks and gloves sourced and distributed
Staff hit the phonelines
Chaul the midwife!
Helping you stay on top of your bills
- 412 new claims for council tax relief have been awarded
- we've made special arrangements with 1,905 residents struggling to pay their council tax bills
Last March we received 2,800 applications for Universal Credit. In one day in April 2020, we received more than 1,000!
PPE lifeline for carers and keyworkers
Serving up help
Our catering team continue to serve meals to children still attending many of our schools, and are providing food boxes for families who have remained at home.
Coordination is key
We’ve parked charges!
Local businesses step up
- Leonardo has answered the call to make PPE to protect NHS staff and critical workers (pictured). Usually making helicopters, electronics and avionics they are using their engineering skills to produce protective face shields.
- Bell Packaging is now manufacturing PPE for NHS, pharmacies and retailers. Thank you, Bell!
- Jaltek is working on the production of vital medical equipment.
- From vans to ventilators for 22 Vauxhall staff, who are currently working on the Luton site of Smiths Medical. The staff were hand-picked from Vauxhall’s Kimpton Road Plant to help with significantly increasing production of Smiths ventilators for the NHS.
- EasyJet cabin crew are being retrained to work in new critical care hospitals.
Pedal power to NHS staff
Ashcroft makes a real difference
Staff and pupils at Ashcroft High School have been making vital protective headgear for those serving on the front line of the battle against coronavirus.
The school has donated four large boxes of protective goggles to Luton and Dunstable hospital, and work began immediately on the next batch of 150.
Headteacher Julie Clarke said the Ashcroft family is ‘it is fantastic to think that a small gesture on our part can make a difference to people’s lives’.
Luton Council’s chief executive extended his heartfelt thanks to the school and said it was ‘truly humbling to see how so many people are pulling together and doing what they can’.
Go the extra mile for the L&D
You can walk, jog or run in your garden or front yard. You can do 2000 steps within your own home. You can do 20 minutes of walking or even include your daily exercise, it is really up to you how you do your mile.
Once you have completed your mile, donate £1 or more towards supporting health workers at your local hospital. Chief Executive Robin Porter and his son Jack are pictured right, completing their mile for the L&D.
Money will go towards wellbeing packs, an emergency hardship fund and accommodation costs for NHS staff and volunteers.