Helpline offers wide-ranging support as COVID-19 response develops

Helpline offers wide-ranging support as COVID-19 response develops

A community helpline set up by Wigan Council as part of its COVID-19 response is offering a wider range of support.

Vulnerable residents have been able to use the helpline to ensure they receive food and medicine deliveries, organised through the borough’s seven community hubs.

The number will remain available for this function but has also become a valuable point of contact for those requiring general welfare support.

Officers will therefore continue to be available for urgent enquiries in addition to offering advice and reassurance, helping to tackle social isolation.

Councillor Chris Ready, cabinet member for communities and culture at the council said: “Both the helpline and the online referral system have been crucial in helping us establish links with those in our communities who need urgent welfare support.

“As the situation has developed over recent weeks we have seen that the helpline is now serving a wider-ranging function than the initial emergency setting.

“We would like to encourage anyone would like to ask for advice, reassurance or support as we all work through the challenges posed by COVID-19 that they can use this service provided by the council and its wonderful volunteers.”

Hundreds of volunteers have signed up to help the borough’s response and working alongside dedicated staff at the hubs they have been able to support residents in a vast variety of ways.

The co-ordinated effort has seen those in isolation helped through volunteers walking their dog, dropping round books and DVDs or simply providing someone to catch-up with on the other end of the phone.

As volunteers have been assigned to their local hubs, they have been able to assist residents in their immediate area, meaning strong links and bonds have been established in many cases.

Coun Ready added: “The response from our volunteers and our staff, many of whom have been redeployed to the frontline, has been outstanding.

“They have ensured those most vulnerable in our communities have been supported and of course that support comes in a variety of ways.”

For more information about the community hubs, visit Be Kind webpages.

Posted on Monday 11th May 2020
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