Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday (23 March) advising all of us to stay at home where possible, we wanted to address some of your concerns and thank you for your ongoing efforts to grow, shield and sustain a countywide volunteer network.
The Volunteer and People Assistance Cell has been created as a countywide partnership to help manage and implement a coordinated effort to support those affected by coronavirus. As you know we’ve all been working hard this last few days to plan and develop this approach. This work now falls into two categories:
This is the countywide project to support the 20,000+ people in Hertfordshire that will be getting a letter from the NHS telling them to have no face-to-face contact for 12 weeks. Some of these people will not have support from family and friends and so we will be prioritising to get them food and essential medication.
We’ve been tasked by and are working alongside the Government to plan and implement elements of this support at a local level. Currently we are working with district and borough councils and other local businesses to secure property, transport, food and medication links to begin operating community hubs to distribute necessities to this shielded group.
This is the work we’ve been doing to mobilise residents and the voluntary sector to support anyone that has been affected by coronavirus, is self-isolating and/or vulnerable but who have not received a letter from the NHS.
#TeamHerts Volunteering, which includes all of the local Community Voluntary Service (CVS) hubs, is being promoted as Hertfordshire’s official volunteering network and they have been tasked to coordinate the countywide effort on behalf of the Volunteering and People Assistance Cell.
The response to join #TeamHerts Volunteering has been fantastic so far, with over 2,000 volunteers recruited and about to begin online training. We need that work to continue so that we can match suitable volunteers to vital roles and services that will be needed to support those self-isolating and the most vulnerable over the coming weeks. Many of you have shared your existing efforts and networks with us, thank you so much. Work is now taking place to match these offers of support in a way that will maximise resource, we’ll update you on these developments very soon.
Sadly, we’re aware that some criminals may be taking advantage of the response to support those affected by coronavirus for their own personal gain. Please help us weed out these perpetrators and protect our vulnerable neighbours by helping compile an official list of trusted volunteers via #TeamHerts Volunteering. If you know of or are part of a community group offering support in your area we’d be grateful if you could make #TeamHerts aware directly by visiting www.thvolunteering.org.uk and completing the online form.
We’ve come up with some more specific messages around helping others in a safe and sustainable way, please see the attached guidance for volunteers that #TeamHerts have prepared. Whilst we know that the government announcement will put greater restrictions in place, there are still lots of things people can do to support those in need. We will support them to adhere to social distancing guidance and to keep themselves and their loves ones and neighbours safe.
We have created an infographic, images and some social media template posts which we hope you will continue to share across your channels, these have been added to the resources listed here; https://www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/about-the-council/news/campaign-toolkits/coronavirus.aspx.
Just a reminder that these are the main points of contact for those wishing to help and those in need of support from volunteers;
- Residents, services and community groups who would like to volunteer can visit www.thvolunteering.org.uk or call Herts Help on 0300 123 4044.
- Residents who are self-isolating and in need of support from volunteers can visit www.hertshelp.net, email firstname.lastname@example.org call HertsHelp on 0300 123 4044.
- Anyone currently using a social care service should expect that to continue, however they should speak to their care provider first or call on 0300 123 4042 for other urgent care needs.
Frequently asked questions for people with care and support needs can be accessed online, www.hertfordshire.gov.uk/serviceupdates.