The Volunteer and People Assistance Cell is set up under the Strategic Co-coordinating Group to organise the humanitarian and volunteering response to coronavirus.
Letters and texts from Govt have been sent to 29,090 Hertfordshire residents, identified as needing ’shielding’ because of severe health conditions, telling them to avoid any close contact for 12 weeks. These ‘extremely vulnerable groups’ have been told to stay at home at all times and aim to remain 2 metres away from anyone they live with.
We are receiving daily updates from government as people register with the national helpline and indicate they need support. Our process is for people to then be contacted by Herts Help to get more information on their specific requirements. Typically, people are needing support with food collection and food parcels are being distributed to individuals that have responded to their letter asking for help. Deliveries of regular, weekly emergency food boxes are to be delivered by the Government’s food provider partners over the coming days and weeks; until the national food delivery arrangements we are organising delivery locally and this commenced in Hertfordshire on 30 March. We will also organise food delivery for those with specific dietary requirements.
We have a central operation in place in Welwyn Garden City for storage and distribution and also have arrangements in place at 10 local Shield Points in each of the Districts/Boroughs to use as required. As the national picture develops the role of Shield Points will become clearer but for now their potential role will be utilised for food and medicine storage, coordinating points for Foodbanks and volunteers/staff. One of the key needs we have identified is for help to collect medication and this service is now ‘live’.
#TeamHerts Volunteering, which includes all of the local Community Voluntary Service (CVS) hubs, is being promoted as Hertfordshire’s official volunteering network and they have been tasked to coordinate the countywide effort on behalf of the Volunteering and People Assistance Cell. #THV have had a phenomenal response from residents, parish and town councils and the voluntary sector wanting to support anyone that has been affected by coronavirus, is self-isolating and/or vulnerable but is not within the ‘shielded’ community.
Following feedback the #TeamHerts website has been updated to ease navigation and ensure those that wish to volunteer, register their community group or register their business as wanting to support Hertfordshire residents can do so with ease. https://www.thvolunteering.org.uk/
Just a reminder that these are the main points of contact for those wishing to help and those in need of support from volunteers;
- Residents, services and community groups who would like to volunteer can visit www.thvolunteering.org.uk or call Herts Help on 0300 123 4044.
- Residents who are in need of support from volunteers can visit www.hertshelp.net, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044.
Anyone currently using a social care service should expect that to continue, however they should speak to their care provider first or call on 0300 123 4042 for other urgent care needs.
Frequently asked questions for people with care and support needs can be accessed online, www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/serviceupdates.
Public Engagement Manager