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Local voluntary organisations working with Wiltshire Council to support vulnerable residents during COVID-19

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IN addition to all the work that local community groups have been undertaking to support their communities, Wiltshire Council’s Wellbeing Hub has been working with specific partner agencies to provide additional support to residents who are ‘shielding’ or are highly vulnerable during COVID-19.

The Wellbeing Hub was set up to support thousands of people in Wiltshire who are in social isolation, leaving hospital or in a high-risk group requiring shielding during this period. It has so far contacted more than 14,989* people to check if they require assistance since it opened on 26 March.

A team of redeployed council staff has been telephoning, emailing and writing to check on residents and helping them access any additional support that’s required as well as responding to the needs of those contacting the hub directly.  If they have been unable to make contact, a number of partner agencies including Serve On, Team Rubicon, SARAID, SPEAR Search and Rescue, British Red Cross and the Fire and Rescue Service have been working with the Wellbeing Hub to undertake home visits, deploying their DBS-checked volunteers across the county to check on the welfare of individuals.

So far 2,595* visits have been made.

In addition to making home visits these volunteers have also:

  • Provided practical support in the home where PPE may need to be worn
  • Collected and delivered prescriptions from pharmacies
  • Collected and delivered food and other supplies where access to the home is required by someone wearing PPE

Cllr Laura Mayes, Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Public Protection said: “Our aim is work closely with existing volunteer and community groups to ensure that wherever possible needs are met within communities, but that higher level needs and risks are met in a safe and effective way.

“Serve On has been co-ordinating the activity of a number of different organisations visiting the homes of residents across Wiltshire that the Wellbeing Hub has not been able to establish contact with despite multiple phone calls, emails and letters.

“A key benefit of the support provided by both Serve On and Team Rubicon is the ability of their DBS checked volunteers, equipped with PPE, to provide safe social contact for residents who would otherwise be without this and emotionally vulnerable due to loneliness.

“The volunteers have time to chat to residents about issues beyond the specific tasks, thus alleviating some of the impact of isolation and enabling them to identify any further additional support needed.”

Dan Cooke, IRT Operations Director at Serve On said: “Serve On volunteers have been privileged to co-ordinate the activities of Team Rubicon, SARAID, SPEAR Search and Rescue, British Red Cross and the Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service to carry out more than 2,500 home visits to vulnerable residents in Wiltshire. We’re grateful for the support provided by our partners and pleased that through these home visits our volunteers were able to help so many residents including a few who needed urgent assistance.”

Rob Davis, Trustee at SARAID said: “We have been on a fantastic project supporting Covid-19 vulnerable residents & carrying out welfare checks within Wiltshire. The response from the public of Wiltshire has been absolutely tremendous, it’s been an excellent project very worthwhile”.

Richard Sharp, Team Rubicon UK CEO said: “Our support to the shielded and vulnerable community in Wiltshire is incredibly important to us as a charity. This period has been extremely challenging for lots of people, especially those isolating. With this week being Mental Health Awareness Week, it’s an opportunity to be reminded of those who don’t have support networks around them and what a difference it can make to have someone check in on them.”

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