Community hubs to help volunteers assist amid coronavirus cases
PUBLISHED: 13:34 18 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:06 18 March 2020
Norfolk County Council
New community hubs are to be created to make sure people get support and help during the coronavirus crisis.
The government is asking councils to create community hubs to help pull together community efforts to assist those affected by the virus.
This newspaper, together with Norfolk County Council, has launched our Here to Help campaign, in a bid to create an army of helpers to step in to offer extra support.
Andrew Proctor, the Conservative leader at County Hall said the community hubs could play a key role in helping co-ordinate volunteers prepared to help people who are unable to get out of their homes to do shopping, for example.
Mr Proctor said: “I like the idea of community hubs and I iike the idea of the trust that people have in local authorities and local councils as well, and also the idea that we can work better together in that respect.
“What we know need to do is make sure we get advice out. One of the key sources of advice is the county council website and the second element is engagement. We have got to make sure that we have got the right people doing the right things for everyone and that engagement is with people that we trust.”
John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said everybody needed to pull together.
He said: “This is going to be a long haul and needs organisation, management and resilience for at least three months and probably more.
“And it only works if we all pull together with one local team in an organised manner.
“Councils like mine have been asked by government to assist, magnify and coordinate the efforts of local volunteers with organisers based in each community whose job it will be to ensure that practical help can be focused to those who need it the most and to ensure that nobody is forgotten or overlooked over months, not days or weeks.
“We will be redeploying paid staff from our leisure services to support grassroot volunteer efforts in every parish.
“Working together means that messages can be effectively passed up-the-line to those best placed to address them in other parts of the public service and to ensure that those in a vulnerable situation aren’t
taken advantage of by unscrupulous individuals exploiting social media.”
The Here To Help campaign includes a postcard which people prepared to help can put through the doors of people who are self-isolating.
You can download the postcard from www.norfolk.gov.uk/coronavirus
We have also launched Facebook group Norfolk and Waveney Here to Help, where people can share the efforts being made to support others in their community.