Posted on: Thursday 7 May 2020
Since the start of the Coronavirus lockdown back in March, more than 470 vulnerable residents across the borough have received vital support from the Council, which has enabled them to stay safe at home.
Central to the Council’s response to the crisis has been the establishment of a central Community Support Hub team, which has received many requests for help.
The Hub, which comprises a central team of Torfaen officers and community volunteers, has been able to offer many types of support to residents, some of which have included:
- help to access essential food supplies through the provision of food parcel deliveries
- advice on accessing online shopping services
- arranging for the collection of medication
- arranging welfare calls
- advice and information on services running in the community
- and, perhaps most importantly, providing re-assurance to people at this time.
Most notably, there has been a vast number of people who already have support from family and friends but whom were really grateful for a re-assuring call to allay some of their concerns.
Mr Whitcombe from Sebastopol outlined that “The response from the Council was swift. Staff provided me with help, with a food parcel delivered swiftly and then advice to enable me to help myself to obtain the essential things I needed. I now have the services I need to allow myself and my wife to stay safe, knowing that the Council are there to help me should we need this.”
Mrs Haig from Cwmbran expressed her appreciation by simply saying, ‘Thank you for all your help and your very re-assuring telephone calls”.
Aside from the support the hub has provided, the response from the local community has been immeasurable with many new community volunteer groups establishing online via Facebook groups and existing community organisations stepping up their efforts.
To support voluntary partners involved, a buddy scheme has been put in place to offer Voluntary Partners and Ward Members a designated contact in the Council to ensure they have support should they need it. The Buddy scheme helps with advice, guidance and finding solutions to localised issues as they arise.
In addition, partner agencies including Torfaen Leisure Trust, Bron Afon Community Housing, Melin Homes and Pobl have all been able to offer their resources to assist in making contact with all vulnerable residents who have been advised to remain home for 12 weeks as part of the Governments shielding scheme.
Executive Member for Children, Families & Communities, Councillor Fiona Cross said, 'The response from all concerned has been phenomenal. The real impact can be seen by the efforts being made by all concerned in ensuring people have essential food supplies, critical medication and practical support during this challenging time. Most of us take these essentials for granted.
Critical to this has been the community response together with the response of other voluntary partners operating across Torfaen. There are hundreds of volunteers helping out on the front line and I can speak on behalf of many residents in saying that support provided has been very gratefully received. Each volunteer has my personal thanks for all they are doing. Without their support the picture would be very different.
It’s not just residents who have expressed their satisfaction, Cerys Williams who is a Sports Development Officer with the Council has been contacting a number of residents to offer help and assistance. Cerys said, “I really feel that I have made a difference. People I speak with are really grateful for the call and for me this was extremely rewarding and it was a pleasure to play a part in helping people at this difficult time'.
Executive Member for Adult Services and Housing, Councillor David Daniels said, ‘The response from our council staff, partners and communities in Torfaen has been outstanding. When the going gets tough, Torfaen steps up!
I'd like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all the key workers and volunteers who have stood strong in the face of this crisis. Their level of dedication to people in need is truly something to behold. Together, we will get through this crisis. Thank you, a million times, thank you!’.
Vulnerable residents who have no support from either family, friends or neighbours are encouraged to get in touch with the Torfaen Community Support Hub, either by downloading the newly launched community support app here: https://bit.ly/2YJHvWy or by calling 01495 762200.