Community Shield – getting food and supplies to our most vulnerable

Date: 
Friday, March 27, 2020

People across Essex are doing an amazing job supporting their family, friends and neighbours who at the most risk from coronavirus because they are older, vulnerable and have health conditions.

From now, public services across Essex are stepping up support for people who may not have help like this.

Essex County Council is supporting the national effort to get food and supplies to the County’s most vulnerable residents.
 
The Essex Resilience Forum (ERF) made up of all the county public sector organisations, is tasked with ensuring that people with the most serious health conditions across Essex, Southend and Thurrock are shielded from social contact for 12 weeks during the peak of the epidemic. These people have been written to directly by the Government and told to expect standard food packages to be delivered to them. 
A distribution hub has been set up by Essex County Council in Witham in central Essex, with 2 other hubs set up by Southend and Thurrock Councils. From this weekend, food packages will begin to be dispatched to vulnerable residents.
 
Given the importance of social distancing and the most at risk being able to stay in their homes, ERF members and the voluntary sector are also mobilising resources across the county to provide assistance to a larger group. These are residents who are also vulnerable during the peak of the epidemic, and include residents over the age of 70 or pregnant women, and who do not have the support of friends, family or neighbours. 
 
These residents will be contacted by the NHS or their GP surgeries, starting from early next week (w/c Monday 30th March). 
The message will set out the instructions for those people who do not have the support of friends, families and neighbours to register with the Essex Welfare Service (EWS), part of PROVIDE (a health and social care provider), should they need food deliveries. 
They will be able to contact the EWS via website and by phone. Contact details are below.

We recognise not all of residents identified will need support, and many will have organised their own arrangements already. However, Community Shield’s aim is to ensure that no-one slips through the net. If you need support and have not received a message, please contact the EWS directly.
Councils across the county are working with Supermarkets, delivery companies and other organisations on developing supply lines to people.
 
In Rochford District a local community hub has been set up in Rayleigh, supported by faith groups, community groups and volunteers. Volunteers will operate a helpline number for all residents to call if they are in need of help or support. The helpline will go live on Wednesday 1st April.

The central hub will be supported by local “cells” in Hullbridge, Hawkwell, Hockley, Great Wakering and Rochford and is being supported by volunteers and elected members of the council who will ensure that the needs of those most vulnerable residents are met.

A flyer with all the relevant information will be distributed to households across the district. This will have details of the helpline number and the opening hours, which will be subject to the number of volunteers.
Updates will be posted on the Essex County Council (ECC) website www.essex.gov.uk/coronavirus and via Essex County Council and Rochford District Council’s social media channels.

You can sign up to volunteer in your local area at: www.facebook.com/essexcoronavirusaction

The latest advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) is available on the Public Health England (PHE) and NHS websites or via www.essex.gov.uk/coronavirus