The most vulnerable people in Bath and North East Somerset will be able to telephone for advice on a range of critical support during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic when a new community hub launches next week.
The line will be open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm initially with the aim of expanding it to seven days a week from 8am to 8pm as the service develops.
The telephone number is 0300 2470050. Please note the lines will not be open until Monday March 30 and please understand we may experience high call volumes and ask you to bear with us during this time.
The Compassionate Community telephone hub will see teams from partners including Virgin Care, Bath & North East Somerset Council and the NHS come together to work with 3SG, who are co-ordinating the efforts of third sector groups and volunteers to help people who are most in need with food, mental health, wellbeing and welfare.
The hub’s telephone line opens on 30 March and will be able to link people in need with organisations or community volunteers who can help as well as providing self-help guidance.
Its first key priority is to provide help for people with serious health conditions who need to follow the Government’s “shielding” advice to spend 12 weeks at home. It will also provide help to vulnerable people with no access to local social support networks.
Vulnerable people with concerns over food supply, welfare or wellbeing should seek help from the hub but organisers are urging those residents who are able to safely get support from family and friends or to order their food or medication on-line, to continue to do so. It means staff operating the phone line can prioritise those who need the most help and get to calls as quickly as possible.
Nearly 2,000 people in the district have answered the call for volunteers made by local organisation 3SG, which is co-ordinating the volunteers who will be drawn in to provide support to people identified as in need through the hub.
Councillor Dine Romero, council Leader, said: “I’m delighted that our Compassionate Community hub has been brought together so quickly to help residents who have to be shielded for three months and other vulnerable people who are isolated. However, for this to work, where possible we are asking people and communities to help each other and use local networks before coming to the hub. Many local volunteers are already active and it’s always best to use that local knowledge and strength first.
“The hub will co-ordinate this massive undertaking to support people most in need in their own homes by matching them with the right help. Together with Virgin Care, the voluntary sector including the 3SG, NHS Clinical Commissioning group and others we will offer support based on the level of assessed need. I would underline that residents who are in critical need due to shielding or isolation are our priority.”
Councillor Rob Appleyard, cabinet member for Adult Services, added: “The response to 3SG’s appeal for volunteers is fantastic and really shows how incredibly caring our community is, even in the most challenging of times. The hub will complement the excellent work already being done by parish councils to help the most vulnerable residents in our community.”
James Carlin, Director of 3SG, said: “We are living in extremely challenging and unprecedented times yet the response we’ve had to our appeal for volunteers has been overwhelming. Every day more and more people are joining #CompassionateCommunity to offer support to elderly and vulnerable people who have to self-isolate right across Bath and North East Somerset. If you are low risk and healthy, then please consider volunteering to help others in your community. We hope this will be a valuable resource that can support all our members over the coming weeks and months.”
Anyone wishing to volunteer should not be in one of the vulnerable groups: over 70, under 70 with particular medical conditions, and pregnant women or be living in the same household as someone else who meets any of the above criteria. They should also not be experiencing any symptoms similar to Covid-19 including a fever or continuous cough. More guidance on helping safely can be found here https://www.gov.uk/government/
Everyone is advised to follow Government guidance on staying at home but providing care or help to a vulnerable person is one of the permitted reasons to leave your home https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/
For all updates on council services go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/coronavirus
More information on 3SG can be found at www.3sg.org.uk