A COVID-19 coordination hub has been launched across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to help those who are most affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are now calling on people across the county to get in touch if they can volunteer their time to help others in a co-ordinated effort which will offer safe support and reassurance county and city wide. People can email CommunityCV@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.
The coordination hub - staffed by a range of council workers - will manage offers of help, thereby maximising support for communities, working alongside existing voluntary and community organisation partners.
The hub will link those who volunteer, with over 70s and others who fall within the vulnerable groups listed by the Government, who have been advised to self-isolate.
People will be matched with those who need help based on their skills, time and willingness.
Adrian Chapman, service director for communities and safety for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, said:
“We are seeing examples across the county of residents and communities setting up support groups which are working really effectively and mobilising people who can and want to support their neighbours.
“Our hub will work alongside those groups which are already in existence to ensure that together we can reach everyone who needs our support at this incredibly difficult time.
“If you are someone who wants to help, but aren’t necessarily sure how, then please get in touch. We will match people to roles which they are comfortable with, ranging from food delivery to personal care.
“We also want to hear from voluntary groups who are doing good work in our communities who might be struggling to continue to offer support because of reduced numbers or resources. Please call us on 01733 747474/0345 045 5200 if you need our help to continue doing what you are doing.”
The coordination hub is in support of a request from the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government to establish a national network of hubs to provide targeted support for those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
People who are already part of support groups in their community are being asked to continue to do so and have the option of contacting the council-led hub if they feel there is more help they can offer. Residents who would like to offer their help but do not know how or where to go, please get in touch with the COVID-19 coordination hub.
Councillor John Holdich, leader of Peterborough City Council, said:
“We know that a great community spirit exists across Peterborough and that our communities will pull together to help families, neighbours and loved ones at this very difficult and worrying time.
“There will be many in our communities who will be vulnerable who may be feeling isolated and lonely. The coordination hub and the many support groups set up across the city will be crucial to support those people in the coming weeks.
“We will also be working with all our staff to identify those who could perform a different role, to ensure that our resources are being targeted where they are most needed.
“The message from Government is very clear, we must all pull together at this very difficult time and support our neighbours if we know they are elderly or vulnerable. Can you collect shopping, or call someone once a day so that they can hear a voice? These are small things, which could make a huge difference to people who are socially isolated.”
Councillor Steve Count, leader of the Cambridgeshire County Council, said:
“We know that people want to help their communities and the coordination hub, as well as the many other groups which are being set up across our communities, are a great way to do so. Even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, we need everyone to look out for anyone in their immediate area who might need help, whilst also keeping themselves safe.
“We have also started looking at our own staff to see whether some of their roles can be re-purposed so that we can make sure we are prioritising those residents who are the most vulnerable and will need our help the most.
“As our Prime Minister has said, it will take a collective effort to ensure that as many people as possible beat this disease and the support of everyone in our communities, in their willingness to help others, and by following the advice around reducing social contact and washing hands more regularly.”
Mayor James Palmer said:
"While the work of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority continues, supporting local businesses through this difficult period, the way we are working has had to change. Many of my engagements and meetings have been necessarily cancelled, and as Mayor I want to ensure I am doing what I can to support all those affected by this crisis. It is heartening to see those who are doing their bit to help, especially those who are going out to maintain supply chains and help the most vulnerable. I welcome the launch of the Coordination Hub by Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council as a way to best direct our volunteer efforts, and I have put myself forward to offer what assistance I can."