Hundreds of people in Norfolk are likely to find themselves in need of a helping hand this Christmas – and a team of workers will be available over the festive period to provide it.

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While most of us tuck into the turkey and spend time with our families, for some people in the county Christmas could prove to be too much to handle.

And that’s where Norfolk County Council’s emergency duty team will step in – to provide care and support to some of the county’s most vulnerable people.

The team deals with social services’ emergencies across the country outside normal office hours, including through the night, at weekends and during holidays such as Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

They deal with issues ranging from requests for formal mental health assessments, safeguarding children and adult referrals and many community care calls, including requests for emergency respite care. Last Christmas, from the end of the working day on Thursday, December 23 and throughout the Christmas break, the team dealt with 359 emergency calls.

“Of those, 208 were for adult social care and 151 were for child protection issues.

Over the New Year period, the team dealt with a further 237 emergencies – 123 related to adult social care and 114 connected to child protection issues.

The emergency duty team consists of a team manager with two social workers and call handlers.

Lorna Bright, head of service at Norfolk Care Connect, said: “If there’s a vulnerable adult who is not able to look after themselves, we will jump in and help out.

“Christmas is a time when, particularly if somebody is by themselves, things can very easily turn into a crisis.

“Another example is if somebody cares for someone with, say, dementia, but they themselves fall ill. We would provide somebody to step in and support them.

“Mental health problems can also come to the fore at this time, so our workers will go to carry out assessments to make sure people are safe to be on their own.”

The council also provides the Swifts service – for older people and adults with a physical or learning disability who require immediate assistance or unplanned need during the day, but who do not need the emergency services.

And they are also behind the Norfolk First Support service, which is home support for people getting back into the community after stints in hospital.

The number to call for help over the Christmas period is 0344 800 8020

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