Residents urged to sign up as volunteers to help those affected by coronavirus pandemic in Cambridgeshire
PUBLISHED: 16:07 20 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:24 20 March 2020
Cambridgeshire residents are being called upon to sign up to volunteer during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council have created a“Covid-19 coordination hub, in line with government advice, “to help those who are most affected by the coronavirus outbreak”.
The hub will be run by council staff, who will link volunteers with those over 70 years old and the vulnerable who need to self-isolate.
Leader of Cambridgeshire County Council, Cllr Steve Count, said in a video message posted online: “The coronavirus is in our communities, and I’m asking our communities to help us to defeat this hidden enemy.
“Today (March 20) we are setting up a volunteers hub, so whether you as an individual or whether you are already a volunteer with an organisation that has been set up – we are asking you to register.
“We need to coordinate this activity throughout the county and Peterborough because we need to know that those vulnerable people who are most impacted can have some support as and when they need it.
“So please register.”
The volunteer hub will manage offers of help and coordinate efforts from the various groups which have sprung up in response to the pandemic, “hereby maximising support for communities, working alongside existing voluntary and community organisation partners”.
People who are already part of support groups in their community are being asked to continue to do so and have the option of contacting the council-led hub if they feel there is more help they can offer.
You can contact the Covid-19 coordination hub by emailing CommunityCV@cambridgeshire.gov.uk.
Volunteers will be matched with those who need help based on their skills, time and willingness.
“Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council are now calling on people across the county to get in touch if they can volunteer their time to help others in a coordinated effort which will offer safe support and reassurance county and city wide,” the councils said in a joint statement, part of their now-daily media briefing.
Service director for communities and safety for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, Adrian Chapman, said: “We are seeing examples across the county of residents and communities setting up support groups which are working really effectively and mobilising people who can and want to support their neighbours.
“Our hub will work alongside those groups which are already in existence to ensure that together we can reach everyone who needs our support at this incredibly difficult time.
“If you are someone who wants to help, but aren’t necessarily sure how, then please get in touch. We will match people to roles which they are comfortable with, ranging from food delivery to personal care.
“We also want to hear from voluntary groups who are doing good work in our communities who might be struggling to continue to offer support because of reduced numbers or resources. Please call us on 01733 747474/0345 045 5200 if you need our help to continue doing what you are doing.”
The government has issued a request to all local authorities to establish a national network of support during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Leader of Peterborough City Council, Cllr John Holdich, said: “We know that a great community spirit exists across Peterborough and that our communities will pull together to help families, neighbours and loved ones at this very difficult and worrying time.
“There will be many in our communities who will be vulnerable who may be feeling isolated and lonely. The coordination hub and the many support groups set up across the city will be crucial to support those people in the coming weeks.
“We will also be working with all our staff to identify those who could perform a different role, to ensure that our resources are being targeted where they are most needed.
“The message from government is very clear, we must all pull together at this very difficult time and support our neighbours if we know they are elderly or vulnerable. Can you collect shopping, or call someone once a day so that they can hear a voice? These are small things, which could make a huge difference to people who are socially isolated.”
Cllr Count said: “We know that people want to help their communities and the coordination hub, as well as the many other groups which are being set up across our communities, are a great way to do so. Even if you don’t have the time to volunteer, we need everyone to look out for anyone in their immediate area who might need help, whilst also keeping themselves safe.
“We have also started looking at our own staff to see whether some of their roles can be re-purposed so that we can make sure we are prioritising those residents who are the most vulnerable and will need our help the most.
“As our Prime Minister has said, it will take a collective effort to ensure that as many people as possible beat this disease and the support of everyone in our communities, in their willingness to help others, and by following the advice around reducing social contact and washing hands more regularly.”
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