Members received a presentation from Emma Denley (Localism Manager) updating them on the work of the Council’s Covid Support Hubs and the response to the second lockdown across Buckinghamshire.
Emma reminded Members that the Support Hubs were set up to provide help to self-isolating residents, the 20,000 people across Buckinghamshire now classified as ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ and lastly, economically isolated/vulnerable residents who were struggling to make ends meet.
Those who had been asked to ‘Shield’ in the first lockdown had now been reclassified as ‘Clinically Extremely Vulnerable’ (CEV) and advised to work from home and remain indoors unless for exercise, to attend medical appointments or to meet with members of their support bubble. Those in this category unable to work from home could be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay or Employment Support Allowance using the letter they received from the Government (dated 4th November). Children classified as CEV were exempt from attending school during the lockdown.
People could contact the Support Hub through the Council’s website, the Customer Service Centre (01296 395000) or the Bucks Online Directory (directory.buckinghamshire.gov.uk). The Hub had made 1,400 calls to CEV people and 1,100 calls to Vulnerable Adult Social Care clients. These calls enquired as to the client’s general wellbeing, and ensured that they had access to food, prescriptions/medical treatment or financial help where necessary.
Local supermarkets were better prepared for the lockdown than had previously been the case, and priority supermarket deliveries had replaced weekly Government food parcels. Partnerships with volunteer groups and food banks were also being utilised to supplement deliveries where residents had limited or no internet access. Some grant funding (up to £1000) was available, however most financial aid provision centred around signposting to other sources.
Emma clarified that the Support Hubs would not cease to operate over the Christmas period and would look to utilise the Government’s Winter Grant Scheme in addition to the continued work of local community groups and partners to provide support to those in need during the Christmas break.
Reports of vulnerable people being removed from supermarket priority lists when not stating their vulnerability during a booking would be investigated by the Support Hub, though this should not be the case for CEV people who were identified to supermarkets by Central Government and would not need to disclose their vulnerability when booking a delivery. Emma advised that people try to book deliveries through multiple supermarkets to mitigate the risk of being unable to secure a delivery through their usual supermarket alone. The Support Hub could assist with the delivery cost.
Emma encouraged those wanting to donate food to take them to food banks as opposed to Council Food Hub collection points, as there had been a move away from purchasing and distributing food directly through the second lockdown.
Members thanked Emma for her time and presentation. Those with further questions were encouraged to contact Katrina, who would pass them on to Emma following the meeting. A copy of Emma’s presentation containing the latest figures for those needing help from the Support Hub and numbers of CEV people in the Community Board area would be appended to and circulated with the minutes.
- 4.0 Covid-19 Hub Contacts - Update at meeting, item 5. PDF 341 KB
- COVID Presentation, item 5. PDF 695 KB