‘Please call and we will help you’ - councils’ words to the vulnerable during coronavirus outbreak
- Credit: Archant
‘If you are in need, we will be there for you.”
That was the message from those coordinating relief efforts for those at high risk in the region who are shielding in their homes from the coronavirus outbreak.
The government has instructed 1.4m vulnerable people across the UK not to leave their homes for 12 weeks, including:
• Organ transplant recipients,
• People with specific cancers or severe respiratory conditions,
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• Those with rare diseases that increase infection risk,
• Immunosuppressed people,
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• And some pregnant women.
But councils across the county are battling to ensure anyone vulnerable receives the help they need via a network of volunteers.
Broadland and South Norfolk Council managing director, Trevor Holden, in charge of Norfolk’s public services’ response, said last week that everyone would get a letter to ask if they need support.
And now he has urged anyone in need not to hesitate, saying: “Please call and we will help you.”
Mr Holden said: “Government have informed 1.4m people they need to be shielded. The list is sent to local authorities who are told what support people need.”
But he said Norfolk’s councils had gone further, writing to everyone in the county and setting up a helpline for those who need support but are not on the list.
He added: “We’re in the process of writing to everyone who lives in the county. In the letter is the helpline - 0344 800 8020 - please call and we will get help to you.”
The government will supply those who are shielding with food deliveries, but Mr Holden warned: “The parcels are a massive logistic exercise - it’s going to take about four weeks to be delivering on a weekly basis to 100pc of that list.”
The councils are set to step in, with supplies to be distributed to those on the government’s list of the vulnerable by the weekend.
Mr Holden added: “We should be getting food in the county today which should find its way to people by the end of the week - but if someone is reading this and thinking ‘but I need food now’ please don’t wait. Give us a call and we will help you.”
And he said action of volunteers had been “phenomenal” and added: “This is a marathon not a sprint - it’s got to be sustained.”
People who want to volunteer are asked to contact the Voluntary Norfolk website, and businesses offering support should email email@example.com.
• The helpline number for those in need of support is 0344 800 8020.