Local lifelines are being set up this week by Buckinghamshire Council for those residents identified by the NHS as having severe medical conditions who may not have family or friends nearby to support them.
The council will run eight Local Support Hubs, during the coronavirus emergency, in the Amersham, Aylesbury, Beaconsfield, Buckingham, Chesham, High Wycombe, Princes Risborough, and Marlow areas.
Hubs will oversee co-ordination and distribution for the council’s volunteer support network, helping with essential food parcels, fuel top-up cards and assistance with getting medicines and medical appointments.
Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities and Public Health, said it was vital that no one missed out on care and support. “These hubs will do a fantastic job in supporting the great work already being done by volunteers, community groups, churches and charities right across Buckinghamshire, who are already pulling out all the stops to help our older and more vulnerable residents.”
Gareth said residents at high risk – often referred to as the shielded population – would receive letters from the NHS or their GPs explaining how to register for support, at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable or by calling the Government helpline on 0800 0288327.
He pointed out vulnerable residents, or their carers, without a letter, but who felt they should qualify for this support, could still register if they quoted their NHS number. They could also find local groups offering support on the council website.
And Gareth encouraged residents able to volunteer to help with Local Support Hub work to sign up at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus/community-hub
In addition to this group, the council’s social care team has identified 750 older and more vulnerable residents, and is keeping in daily contact with them to ensure they are safe and have the support they need.
Nearly 100 other people, who called the council on its helpline 01296 383204 for support and advice, have been linked up with support from volunteers and community groups.
Gareth said: “We’re working well with our colleagues in the NHS and with our county’s volunteer groups in very difficult circumstances. Everyone is doing their utmost and I applaud their superhuman efforts. Together we’ll get through this emergency and emerge a stronger community as a result.”
Anyone concerned about a vulnerable person who may need support can contact Buckinghamshire Council by emailing email@example.com or telephoning 01296 383204.
Coronavirus support and information, updated regularly, can be found at www.buckinghamshire.gov.uk/coronavirus