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Help for people during the coronavirus crisis

Last Modified March 31, 2020

Older people and other vulnerable individuals in Hertsmere can ask for a wide range of help from voluntary organisations to get them through the coronavirus crisis.

Communities 1st, which is working with Hertsmere Borough Council and other public sector organisations, charities, community groups, and businesses, is stepping up its operations during the public health emergency.

Nearly 2000 new volunteers across Hertsmere, St Albans, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, East Hertfordshire and Broxbourne have applied to join their Compassionate Community Connectors programme and help people isolated at home.

Connectors will be able to offer services to people in need, such as practical help with shopping, dog walking, collecting medicines or other essential tasks.

Advice on how to connect with family and other people using digital services, such as Skype or Facetime, will also be available.

To counter feelings of loneliness, it can also be arranged for a friendly voice to contact someone by telephone.

Cllr Morris Bright MBE, Leader of Hertsmere Borough Council, said: “If you are an older person or in one of the vulnerable groups, and need help to stay healthy and safe at this time, then the Compassionate Community Connectors programme is here for you.

"Whether it's help with getting your food shopping, collecting medicine, walking your dog or you just want to hear a friendly voice on the phone, then we find someone to provide that service.

“All the volunteers will have been interviewed, their references checked and in appropriate cases, DBS checks will have been completed. I would ask people who may need help to pass on their details without delay.

"This is an unprecedented time of national crisis, but this programme exemplifies the spirit of community and neighbourly feeling which is so strong in Hertsmere and why I'm so proud to call this borough my home."

Anyone who feels they could benefit from these services should call 020 827 5115 or email help@communities1st.org.uk.

They will then be matched with a Compassionate Community Connector volunteer and offered immediate support or referred to a partner organisation that is in a better position to help.

Stephen Craker, Communities 1st Chief Executive, said: “We are working closely with a range of partner organisations to ensure the elderly and other vulnerable groups can be supported during these challenging times.

“This is a marathon not a sprint and we’re not at the peak yet.  Hundreds of people have stepped forward to become Compassionate Community Connectors as the community comes together.

“We now need to match them with the people that are in need of their support. The sheer scale of what is happening is something no one could have visualised, but there is a tremendous amount of work going on to deal with it.”

Further information about Communities 1st is  available on their website at www.communities1st.org.uk/covid19support.

Posted on Friday 27th March 2020

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