News release, Thursday 26 March 2020
New Help Hub offers support to vulnerable residents through Covid19 outbreak
Community organisations in Blackburn with Darwen are supporting the Council to set up a central hub to support residents through the Coronavirus outbreak.
The BwD Help Hub can provide a range of support, from organising deliveries of food and essential supplies to people in need, and providing information and advice. Additionally, staff working through the Help Hub will make regular weekly telephone calls to help keep people’s spirits up during periods of isolation.
Following the government’s announcement last week of the need to step up social distancing and isolation measures, Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council has been working closely with a range of local organisations from the voluntary, community and faith sector, and public health partners. The result of this partnership working is the BwD Help Hub, which launches today.
Council Leader Councillor Mohammed Khan explained:
“The current situation is a very difficult one and we find ourselves in unprecedented circumstances. It’s important that as a community we pull together to help our residents to improve their resilience as we face periods of social distancing and isolation.
“By working together with partners, we can provide a co-ordinated support network to people who have no means of accessing food or other essentials, and help meet other needs including supporting mental wellbeing.
“The government has asked councils to prioritise those more vulnerable residents who have received information about the need to ‘shield’ themselves due to particular health conditions. We would urge these people to contact us through the Help Hub so that we can establish how best we can support them through this period.
“In Blackburn with Darwen we are blessed with very many community spirited people who already give hours of their time every week to volunteering. We know that many people are already supporting one another through this public health crisis where they can, and pulling together in this way will ultimately help to make our borough stronger.”
The BwD Help Hub will support local people in need:
- By providing food and essential items to people in need
- By helping arrange deliveries to people in isolation who have the means to buy their own food and essential items
- By having someone to talk on the phone while isolating at home.
Anyone in Blackburn with Darwen who has no support they can call on through family, friends or neighbours can get in touch with the Help Hub:
Initially, from today, the Help Hub will start to co-ordinate residents’ requests, with a programme of support being worked up over the next few days.
A team of Council staff will assess the needs of people getting in touch, and cases will be prioritised before being passed on to the relevant Neighbourhood Hubs.
Four Neighbourhood Hubs, based around existing neighbourhoods, are supporting residents in: Blackburn North, Blackburn East, Blackburn West and Darwen.
Staffed by Council employees together with local partners and volunteers, and with support from ward councillors, these hubs will co-ordinate support for residents in their areas. Support will be available Monday to Friday, between 9am and 5pm initially, with plans to move to offering support seven days a week.
Working in partnership with the Council to run the BwD Help Hub are representatives of the health service’s Integrated Neighbourhood Teams and Primary Care Networks, as well as a range of local organisations from the voluntary, community and faith sector.
Volunteers registered with the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership have also been invited to get involved. Anyone over the age of 16 in Blackburn with Darwen can register with the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership if they’d like to support the BwD Help Hub through volunteering – register online at www.lancsvp.org.uk/opportunities/community-assistance-volunteer.
Sayyed Osman, Director of Adults & Prevention Services, said:
“We understand that people are anxious about the current situation, and we have been working hard over the past week to put in place a system to help the most vulnerable people, those with no other sources of help, to get the support they need.
“It’s been incredibly heartening in these difficult times to talk to partners who are keen to get involved to support our local communities. As well as drawing on partners’ networks and expertise, we are redeploying some Council staff and using services such as Community Transport in our response to the current situation.
“However daunting it may seem now, we will come through it, and it’s important to us that we help our communities to become more resilient during this outbreak – that’s what the Help Hub is all about.”