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Community Response Hub – Latest Update

Letter received from ERYC:

I write with an update on the East Riding Community Response Hub, following the introduction of a national lockdown in early January.  In essence, our previous arrangements for the Hub still stand because our plan has had flexibility built into it to enable us to adapt to whatever level of demand is being placed upon it and to whatever level of restrictions the East Riding is experiencing at a particular point in time.   

When we set up the Community Response Hub in March 2020, it was designed to provide support to people who needed it during the pandemic and who were not able to fall back on friends, family, neighbours, carers or local community groups.  Throughout, the aim has been to supplement, but not replace, the excellent voluntary work being undertaken by local community groups, town and parish councils and many others. 

To date, the 01482 393919 Community Response Hub number has taken 17,583 calls generating 9,522 tasks that have needed to be carried out.  The busiest single day was on 9 April 2020, when 409 incoming calls were received resulting in 194 tasks.  Call numbers since the start of 2021 remain low but they are a bit higher than the call numbers just before Christmas.  In week commencing 4 January 2021 for example, there were 159 calls, generating 66 tasks.  The tasks mostly involved food and accessing medication. 

As we’ve said before, in the East Riding, our approach is to assess need in a way that supports independence and we provide appropriate assistance and advice where needed to enable people to access food, medication and other essentials.  We seek to draw on existing provision within the community and voluntary sector including food banks, where necessary.   

One significant change in policy from the start of January’s national lockdown was the reintroduction of government advice to clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV) people to take extra shielding measures until 21 February 2021.  This advice is essentially to stay at home as much as possible.  We have attached to this email, the letter sent by the two Cabinet ministers, Matt Hancock and Robert Jenrick to all CEV people, for those of you who would like to read it.  In the East Riding, at the last count, there were 14,156 CEV residents in 13,581 households. 

In addition to receiving calls, we have so far made 53,291 outbound telephone calls to residents who we thought might most benefit from us checking in with them to see if they required any support.  On 11 January 2021, we restarted the outbound calling focussing on our CEV residents.  Overwhelmingly, these calls have been very well received and residents often greatly appreciate the concern shown and the friendly voice.  If residents have any needs, we seek to assist. 

Corporate Management Team (CMT) & Senior Management Team (SMT) Leadership 

This project is continuing to be led at CMT level by Alan Menzies, Director of Planning & Economic Regeneration and Darren Stevens, Director of Corporate Resources.  At SMT level, the project is being managed by Paul Bell, Head of Economic Development and Communications and Ian Rayner, Head of Culture and Customer Services. 

The Contact Centre – 01482 393919 

The inbound and outbound contact centres are run by the Customer Service Network in Culture and Customer Services.  The contact centre (01482 393919) opening hours are 9.00am – 5.00pm on weekdays.   

Food 

In line with the updated guidance from central government, the Community Response Hub has stopped the actual distribution of food.  If a resident calls saying they have the financial means to pay for food but are having difficulties accessing it, the Hub will work with them to obtain access.  Residents can also find information about food delivery services in their local area on the Council website at https://bit.ly/2LMhEJ8 .    If the problem is the ability to pay for food, we refer these calls to the local food banks or where appropriate to a suitable local community or voluntary group.  Paid for food parcels are still available from the Community Response Hub as a last resort, with this service now being delivered on the Council’s behalf by East Yorkshire Food Bank.  Residents can still apply for individual emergency assistance.  For coronavirus specific support, residents can visit https://bit.ly/3smUVEo, or for the Council’s standard emergency assistance grants visit https://bit.ly/35FzAMy .  

Our local food banks have risen to the challenge of the increase in demand for their services since March 2020 and have started to collaborate more formally through the formation of the ‘East Riding Food Poverty Alliance (ERFPA)’ (www.erfpa.org.uk).  The ERFPA and its constituent food bank members are now providing all emergency food support, with food no longer being held at the locality hubs.  Food banks are seeing a month on month increase in numbers of people accessing support as, despite the extension of the furlough scheme, the economic impact of the pandemic starts to impact on local residents.  Food Banks are currently well stocked, with the additional supplies funded by central government being distributed by the FareShare network, along with support from donations and the Council’s Emergency Food & Supplies Fund.  Residents who would usually donate food but who are not visiting supermarkets due to the current lockdown can continue to support them by making a financial donation via the ERFPA website (above).  Businesses with surplus stock can also contact the Alliance through the website in order to arrange timely distribution to Alliance members. 

The Social Supermarkets in Withernsea and Beverley continue to grow their membership numbers and work continues to try and replicate this provision in other parts of the East Riding. 

Medication 

The demand for medication collection via the Community Response Hub reduced greatly from about August 2020 onwards.  

Right now, demand for medication collection is very low, with most residents returning to collection arrangements that they previously had in place before the pandemic. 

You will see in the attached letter sent by the Government to CEV residents on 7 January 2021 that the current advice to these people about access to their medication is as follows – 

“You are strongly advised not to go to a pharmacy.  In the first instance, you should ask if any friends, family or volunteers can collect medicines for you.  If friends and family are not able to collect your medicines for you, and you and/or the pharmacy are unable to arrange for a volunteer, then you will be eligible for free medicines delivery.  Please contact your pharmacy to inform them that you are clinically extremely vulnerable and need your medicines delivered, and they will arrange this free of charge”. 

If any residents are having difficulty with this, they can contact the Hub on 01482 393919 to seek assistance. 

The Locality Hubs 

As previously advised, we have a number of locality hubs dotted around the East Riding.  These had been in place since the Community Response Hub started in March 2020. 

From 5 November 2020, we moved to a model of having a ‘locality hub lead’ (a named, dedicated officer from Culture & Customer Services) with geographical responsibilities to ensure that any tasks, work or coordination with other organisations or groups in that locality is able to be carried out.   

Communications 

Communicating to our residents about the work of the Community Response Hub has been key since the start and will continue to be so.  We have put a lot of effort into this.  The Council will continue to use its social media platforms, website and press releases to promote the help available from the Hub.  Here is an example of a tweet posted on 13 January – https://bit.ly/2LHPcIp .  We have a super webpage now for the Hub here – https://bit.ly/38GN0tD .  It has a search function, where for example you can search for “food delivery” in Driffield and various options magically appear. 

The Council produced a postcard which was distributed to Members and town and parish councils to distribute as desired in their local communities.  We have attached a copy of the postcard to this email.  You will see on the postcard, details of the CallER helpline that residents can call if they are lonely or need a friendly voice to speak with.  The number is 01482 215929 and is open every day from 8.00am until 10.00pm.  If you would like to be sent more postcards, please email councillorcontact@eastriding.gov.uk to request them.

We hope that this provides a good and clear update on the ongoing plans to support our residents who need help during the pandemic and who are not able to fall back on friends, family, neighbours, carers or local community groups.  

CONTACT CENTRE DETAILS 

9am-5pm Monday-Friday (excluding bank holidays) 

Tel: (01482) 393919 

Email: covid@eastriding.gov.uk 

Best regards,

Darren Stevens

Director of Corporate Resources

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