Food parcels delivered to Cambridgeshire’s most vulnerable amid coronavirus pandemic
- Credit: Ben Hatton/LDRS
A countywide effort will deliver food and other essentials to the most vulnerable in Cambridgeshire until a national scheme begins, councils have said.
The deliveries will be part of a national effort to “shield” 1.5 million people with health concerns for at least 12 weeks during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a joint media statement on Tuesday (March 31), Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council said they expect the national food distribution scheme will be “up and running shortly,” but in the meantime will be working to identify vulnerable residents and deliver them supplies.
The councils said they are working with a military planner, the British Red Cross and Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, and that a warehouse facility has been secured in the centre of the county to distribute parcels via local hubs.
The first parcels of food, medicine and other essentials are being delivered this week.
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The councils said their staff contacted 400 residents who are shielding and have indicated they need assistance with deliveries.
“This work will continue as long as it is needed,” the councils said.
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The councils said the 1.5 million people identified by the government will be contacted by the NHS to ask whether or not they have a reliable support network in place, or if they need government support to receive supplies.
The national scheme is being developed with food wholesalers, supermarkets and community pharmacies, the councils said.
Residents are asked to note that they will not be asked for payment or bank card details, either at the door or by any other contact.
District and parish councils, along with other community groups, coordinated through Cambridgeshire County Council’s coordination hub, are assisting with the effort.
South Cambridgeshire District Council said supplies will be delivered by the Red Cross to 52 households in its district on March 31, where in each case the recipient has requested support when contacted by the government.
Assistant director for community safety for Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, Rob Hill, said: “The NHS is building up a picture of who in our county is shielding from the virus and will need food and other items delivered. But, in the meantime, we have a role to play to ensure that those people are receiving the items that they need in order to remain in good health.
“Over the weekend we purchased food ourselves which council staff then delivered to those identified as in need. Everyone we are identifying as shielding from the virus and in need will start to receive parcels from us this week to ensure that they have what they need until the national food distribution scheme is up and running.
“We also know that people in this situation may need additional support, for example, befriending, delivery of magazines and books, and other social-type support, and this is a role that our hubs network will fulfil.
“If you are at home and shielding because of serious health or medical conditions and we have not been in touch, please visit our coordination hub web page or call us on 0345 045 5219.”