Good Council Practice - Engagement

Economic recovery, including the safe reopening of the city centre, is critical for Newport City Council and an economic recovery plan has been adopted by the council’s cabinet.

A survey of residents and businesses was undertaken to understand people’s concerns and priorities and a Task and Finish Group was set up to focus on how to embark on economic recovery in a safe and informed way. This group includes representation from the Newport Now BID, Gwent Police, Registered Social Landlords, Business Representatives (including the Chamber of Commerce) and third sector groups such as the Newport Access Group, Guide Dogs Cymru and Newport People First. The focus of the group has been on communication and information, supporting Newport businesses, place making and public safety.

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’.

Autism Wellbeing is a not-for-profit social enterprise set up in May 2018 and run by a mix of autistic and non-autistic directors. Their aim is to increase the wellbeing of autistic people and to reduce their experience of distress.

Autism Wellbeing provides a range of services to autistic people and their families, all of which are informed by the principles of Responsive Communication and Sensory Attachment Intervention. They also provide a compassionate, knowledgeable telephone helpline for autistic people and parents of autistic children – 07393664048. In addition, Autism Wellbeing operate two online peer-to-peer support groups, one for autistic people and one for parents of autistic children. These groups are safe spaces where group members can share experiences and ideas as well as give and receive support.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Autism Wellbeing received a grant from the Carmarthenshire Covid-19 Community Response Fund, supported by Carmarthenshire County Council, to produce a Covid-19 Support Pack for Families with Autistic Children. This pack has proven hugely popular, and has been shared energetically by allies such as the National Autism Team via social media. The pack contains 17 information sheets on topics including each of the eight sense systems as well as ideas to support parents, children and families to regulate themselves and each other – C-19 Free Resources.

Councillors in Ceredigion County Council have taken a lead role in setting up individual support teams in conjunction with local groups and individuals, including community and twon councils, Young Farmers and Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) .

A comprehensive list of all support groups are available on the Ceredigion County Council website: http://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/resident/coronavirus-covid-19/resources/list-of-resources-in-ceredigion/ together with details of the businesses that have adapted to provide delivery services, details of support available those that are vulnerable or shielding, food banks, grants etc.

Some Councillors who are shielding themselves, are telephoning vulnerable members of their community on a regular basis, others have provided hands on support with one Member in conjunction with the local RNLI delivering food and medicine to over 90 residents in the New Quay area on a daily basis.  They have also been contacting local businesses in their wards to direct them to the advice, support and grant funding available via the council, and they also took a lead role in encouraging tourist accommodation to close prior to the official lockdown.

At the beginning of lockdown, Councillors asked how they could support the services provided by the Council, and 3 Members with appropriate experience volunteered to manage a temporary resting centre.  Training was provided including as assessment for driving 4 wheel drive vehicles, however we’re pleased to confirm that this facility was not required.-19 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak and social distancing measures, Torfaen Youth Service has been part of a team operating the secondary age hub for children of key workers and vulnerable young people.  The Youth Service’s primary role has been to facilitate and deliver all activities to the young people. In addition the Youth Service has created a ‘mini’ hub in one of its youth centres, working closely with Social Care and Inclusion services for a small number of significantly vulnerable young people who need higher levels of support. In the Hub young people have taken part in cooking, gardening and team building exercises etc. Young people have independently engaged in the hubs, some of whom have needed 1:1 support to access formal learning.  Young people who are concerned and anxious about parents and family members have found a safe space that they can enjoy and value coming to @torfaenyouth

Flintshire County Council have been working in partnership with Flintshire Local Voluntary Council (FLVC)  to ensure vulnerable people receive appropriate support.  Prior to Covid-19, (FLVC)  already had access to a directory of validated community organisations i.e. those who were constituted, had received appropriate training and had policies in place, such as safeguarding. This Directory is updated as new community groups set up. FLVC employ two staff based with the Council’s Single Point of Access (SPoA) team signposting and supporting individuals to access the voluntary and community support available across Flintshire. Furloughed staff from organisations who work closely with the Council have been encouraged to volunteer via the Volunteering Wales website. Over 200 people have stepped forward to volunteer in Flintshire, 84 individuals chose to volunteer for the council and virtual training has been put in place. Together we are fighting Coronavirus COVID-19 

 

Vale of Glamorgan Council has established a Crisis Support Team to provide information and assistance and works closely with Glamorgan Voluntary Service  and Cardiff & Vale Age Connects, directing people to organisations that can help. Vale Heros  is a searchable database that helps connect individuals in need of support with those offering it. People can register if they need assistance with grocery shopping or medicine collection, for example, as can individuals or groups able to help with such tasks. Currently, numerous people are volunteering across the Vale, with over 2000 coming forward since March when the Covid-19 crisis hit.

A new Vale Heros Crisis Fund has also been established to offer grants of up to £3,000 to community groups, the voluntary sector, town and community councils and eligible businesses.

Rhondda Cynon Taf County Borough Council quickly established seven Community Resilience Hubs. comprising of  ‘virtual’ multi-disciplinary and organisational teams from Council services and partners, led by Council Community Coordinator.

The Community Resilience Teams contact all the people who request assistance, and those on the NHS Shielded lists, to provide support with shopping, picking up prescriptions, dog walking, and befriending services, matching the needs of residents with local volunteers, community groups, partner organisations, or by providing staff support.

To date, over 2800 residents have been supported by the Community Resilience Centres and close to 11,000 residents on the NHS Shielded list contacted by ‘phone with an active offer of support. 

The council were overwhelmed by over 1100 applications for volunteers and have currently paused recruitment as they work to mobilise Community Resilience Volunteers in response to local need.

Powys County Council, Powys Teaching Health Board and Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO), as key partners of Powys Regional Partnership Board ,  established a Community Sector Emergency Response Team (C-Sert) to coordinate and support emergency response to people in the community who may be affected by COVID 19 through formal and informal volunteers. The CSERT, with the assistance of thirteen Community Connectors based around the county, arrange practical support for vulnerable (shielding and non-shielding) residents from local volunteers through local support networks. In terms of services offered through the CSERT, is provided with shopping and medication collection as well as a befriending service to help tackle loneliness and social isolation. Powys has around 4,000 volunteers across the county at any given time. The CSERT have been very pro-active in increasing formal volunteer support during the pandemic

The Pembrokeshire Community Hub is a one-stop shop for any support required during the current pandemic, from help with shopping to a friendly telephone call. It is a partnership between Pembrokeshire County Council, Pembrokeshire Association of Voluntary Services (PAVS), Hywel Dda University Health Board and Delta Wellbeing. Residents who would like to volunteer are signposted to a web based interactive directory of community support organisations that are registered with PAVS, or they can volunteer directly through Volunteering Wales.  94 Community Support Groups have registered with PAVS, and over 600 volunteers have registered with Volunteering Wales.

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