Posts in Category: COVID-19 (People at Risk - Partnership)

Friend in Need (Bridgend CBC) 

During the COVID-19 pandemic Bridgend County Borough Council worked alongside Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) to expand the Community Companions befriending scheme recognising, the need to adapt approaches in relation to the pandemic and restrictions. BAVO and the Council wanted to provide support to individuals in different ways including telephone befriending to support social distancing particularly targeting older more isolated adults over the winter period. During 2020 there were 229 referrals received for befriending support. A total of 145 individuals were supported with befriending opportunities, with 102 volunteers involved in telephone befriending and 50 individuals involved in the pilot of the intergenerational pen pal scheme. This scheme has continued to grow despite the disruptions of schools closing and BAVO have made links with a local primary school during lockdown to write letters/drawings which were developed into postcards to send out to Community Companions beneficiaries and volunteers.

Connecting Communities (Bridgend CBC) 

Bridgend County Borough Council’s Connecting Communities programme has escalated the support provided to people and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bridgend Association of Voluntary Organisations (BAVO) working with the Community Navigators are supporting a variety of community needs. The key levels of support include: prescription delivery, shopping services, food bank support including providing foodbank vouchers and delivering food parcels to those most in need, along with educating people on other affordable food provisions like the Food Pantries, welfare checks and telephone befriending. BAVO and the Connecting Communities programme work with external organisations and support services ensuring those most vulnerable access the support they need. There is a partners list of 77 organisations that have supported the Connecting Communities and also in a series of impact checks regarding the Connected Community support 214 individuals, 99% were happy with the support, signposting and information and advice the navigators had provided.

Regional Community Cohesion Service for North East Wales (Wrexham CBC, Denbighshire CC and Flintshire CC)  

Wrexham, Denbighshire and Flintshire councils have worked in partnership to deliver a Regional Community Cohesion Service (RCC) for North East Wales. The service supports around 40 community groups and third sector organisations that in turn actively support minority communities. 

Since March 2020, RCC has continued to support communities although as with most services, the focus has adapted to address the challenges posed by COVID19. In total around £20,000 has been awarded in grants to support specific schemes such as: 

  • provision of food parcels, personal protective equipment and online support; 

  • translated information packs; 

  • summer holiday socially distanced activities;  

  • support in relation to domestic violence and substance misuse during Covid-19; 

  • post Covid-19 volunteering and community engagement opportunities; and 

  • supporting the local Traveller Community during Covid-19 with remote education support. 

The RCC is not sitting back on its laurels. It has a seat on the Wales Council for Voluntary Action Emergency Covid-19 funds panel and is working with AVOW and key partners to identify and secure larger and more sustainable funds to support minority communities and individuals with projected characteristics. 

Launch of the Carers Card (Ceredigion CC)  

Carer Card has been launched by Ceredigion County Council, for unpaid carers who look after family members or friends who would not be able to manage on their own without the support and care of an unpaid carer. 

The Carer Card is a photo ID card issued by Ceredigion County Council’s Carers Unit to carers aged 18 and over who have registered with the councils Carers Information Service. 

The card has been developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. During the early months of the pandemic, many carers contacted the council to ask for something they could use to prove that they are caring for someone if they were challenged when collecting and delivering essential supplies for that person. 

Cardholders will have access to priority shopping opportunities with retailers who are participating in the scheme. A list of retailers and other benefits is available on the councils Carer Card page. 

Conwy Community Support Service (Conwy CBC) 

Conwy County Borough Council established the Community Support Service(CSS) helpline in March 2020, the purpose of which was to provide assistance to anyone within the community who wasn’t able to call on friends, family or neighbours to ask for help with picking up shopping, delivering medication etc. Assistance was initially provided through volunteer matching and we then moved on to using temporarily redeployed staff from other services within the council. Volunteers were encouraged to register with Community & Voluntary Support Conwy(CVSC) to be matched with local organisations. Conwy CBC have an agreement with a number of local shops and both Tesco stores in the county to take payment over the phone from individuals using the CSS for shopping requests. When the Conwy Staff are at the till, the shop ring the customer who then pay for their shopping over the phone. There is also a process in place to assist if individuals have no means to pay by card over the phone. The CSS service has been scaled back in line with easing lockdown rules and the number of requests we receive reduce. All surgeries and pharmacies have been informed and have been encouraged to register with the RedCross if they need assistance with prescription deliveries.

Tackling Food Poverty through the Pandemic (Swansea CC) 

At the beginning of the pandemic Swansea Council and its partners in the Health and Voluntary Sectors came together to form a coordinated response. One element of which was the establishment a working group consisting of redeployed officers from Cultural Services, Poverty and Prevention, Local Area Coordination and Swansea Council for Voluntary Service (SCVS). The Council and SCVS began to map food provision across the county to ensure that any individuals in need had access to information on where to source appropriate food. The information was provided on the Council’s website, and also via the SCVS direct signposting service, which gathered information by GP Cluster area. The Council has supported the community foodbanks throughout the pandemic, via the donations and purchased product, managed at the Food Distribution Centres, and SCVS have successfully secured FareShare deliveries for several independent food banks in the County. If there is an urgent need for food and other essentials, all individuals are linked into this network and a ‘crisis pack’ will be delivered either by the local authority or SCVS. Swansea Together, a public-third-private sector partnership between SCVS, the Local Authority, Matthew’s House, Crisis, The Wallich, Zac’s Place and Mecca Bingo has provided thousands of meals to very vulnerable people during the crisis. The partnership has been supported with advice, promotion, food supplies, volunteers and transport by both SCVS and the Local Authority.

Locality Response Service to support Vulnerable People (Blaenau Gwent CBC) 

Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council pulled together a Locality Response Service staffed by redeployed staff to support the increased demand for non-statutory support related to COVID-19 restrictions during the height of the pandemic and to protect front line social care. This service worked closely with the Third sector to provide ongoing support through this time for residents. Residents have been supported with grant applications, food banks, ongoing referrals for specialist support such as mental health, Gwent Drug and Alcohol Support, supporting people services and social services if required. At the beginning of lockdown and through the summer the council dealt with over 1000 requests for help with shopping, collecting prescriptions and other befriending activities. As restrictions eased and shielding paused, the council looked at options to scale back the service. The team directly contacted all open cases to ensure they could transition into a more sustainable support arrangement. 

Theatr Clwyd remains vital for its community during pandemic (Flintshire CC) 

Theatr Clwyd in Mold, Flintshire has not put on a show in months but has remained vital for its community during the pandemic.

It has been the main centre for blood donations in North East Wales, supporting the NHS to keep up their blood stocks.

Working with the council’s social services, they have helped to get food stocks out to families in need within the county. They have also run a successful ‘Rainbow Box’ appeal, which asked members of the community to donate boxes of arts and crafts materials for vulnerable young people. Over 300 were donated and distributed.

The theatre moved all of its weekly workshops online (from dementia groups to youth sessions) and has been delivering them to over 200 people per week.

Over the summer, the theatre became one of the main hubs for vulnerable and disabled children in Flintshire and also offered spaces for North Wales NHS children during the summer holidays.

The theatre has also supported a young local boy, who was accepted at the Royal Ballet School but whose place has been postponed. Following contact from his local Councillor, he has been training twice a week on stage.

Neighbourhood Hubs support vulnerable residents during lockdown (Newport CC) 

Newport’s four Neighbourhood Hubs proved invaluable in supporting and assisting some of the city’s most vulnerable residents during the lockdown.

A Freephone number was established to ensure residents had easy access to support and the hubs teams have distributed over 800 emergency food parcels. Activity packs have been provided for younger and older residents and in collaboration with Health colleagues, baby bundles have been provided for new parents struggling during the lockdown period. 

Hubs staff have also contacted over 5000 shielding residents. They have provided a check in service during these calls, offering support and making referrals to partner agencies where required. General support with shopping, prescription collection, befriending and dog walking has been provided by referrals through to Volunteering Matters Wales

Other community groups have been eager to help vulnerable residents, including the Newport Yemeni Community Association, who have been delivering food to isolating residents and Save the Children, who have provided essentials to families, including access to digital resources. A Newport wide survey identified more than 2,500 children without access to a digital device or a reliable internet connection. As a result nearly 800 devices were loaned to pupils along with 1261 units to provide a 4G internet connection.

Safe and Well Project to support vulnerable residents (Neath Port Talbot C) 

The Neath Port Talbot Council Safe and Well Service was established at the start of the coronavirus outbreak to support residents who were shielding and had nobody to call on for help with daily living tasks such as shopping and collecting medicines.

Members and officers also identified other groups of people who needed support, including people who needed to self-isolate and had no support, young carers, parents of children entitled to free school meals unable to receive BACS payments; and carers of people shielding and self-isolating.

Approximately 1,300 people received support from the service between the end of March 2020 and the end of June 2020.

A food hub was established where staff from a number of different departments collaborated to source food, ensure its safe storage, handling and distribution, made deliveries, kept good records, prepared healthy menus that catered for specific dietary requirements and ensured emergency food provision where circumstances warranted it. These arrangements were identified by Welsh Government as an example of good practice.

Circa 100 employees volunteered in their own time and circa 450 residents registered an interest to volunteer with the service. Volunteers were trained and then worked with local councillors to support the local community. A Volunteer Co-ordinator will be recruited in order to support the project and function and a strategy is being developed with input from councillors and community organisations to establish what will be needed in the ‘new normal’.

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