Date: April 2, 2020
A letter from Councillor Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member for Communities & Housing, Sefton MBC
Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to everyone in Sefton working hard to ensure that we support local people during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Throughout our incredible borough we have seen an amazing community response.
The Council is co-ordinating a group of partners to ensure that a robust community response and support plan is in place and being delivered to respond to the changing levels of need within our communities over the coming weeks and months. This group,known as the Community Response Cell, meets weekly and is chaired by Tanya Wilcock, Head of Communities. This is part of a wider governance structure that is co-ordinating Sefton’s response and in turn Merseyside’s response to COVID-19. The group includes Sefton Council for Voluntary Services (Sefton CVS) and other key community organisations as well as Merseyside Police, Merseyside Fire and Rescue, One Vision Housing, Hugh Baird College, officers from the Council and me as the Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing. Each organisation involved in this group is communicating with others on a regular basis, for example Sefton CVS is in contact with many voluntary, community and faith groups and sends out regular bulletins and updates.
People in need of help and support
Some people in Sefton will have been identified as being in an extremely vulnerable group and they should by now have received a letter from the government with detailed advice on how best to protect themselves over the coming months, and how to access help via a newly set up national helpline, if they have no family or friends to offer them the support they will need to shield for 12 weeks.
Sefton Council receive the names of those living in our borough who have registered with the national helpline and have established a specific response for those who have identified as needing additional support to help them shield for the next 12 weeks. This includes regular telephone contact to provide social contact and to pick up on any issues they have in relation to access to food and medicines. We then link those who need shielding into direct support needed either through the voluntary sector or through our partners.
For others in need of help and support (but who are not on the shielded extremely vulnerable list) who need advice on where else they may be able to access information and help they can call the Council 0345 140 0845 or fill in the online form. This information is then being shared with Sefton CVS so that they can join people up with the support that they need. This includes signposting people into the various localised support offers across our borough, so residents receive a localised response where possible.
We have encouraged organisations and mutual aid groups if they are offering a local service or response to let Sefton CVS know about this so we can coordinate the right support to those in need. The Council and Sefton CVS will continue to work with our partners to ensure that local people are supported over the coming weeks and months.
Foodbanks are also being supported to ensure they have enough stock and have enough volunteers. Sefton CVS is signposting volunteers into supporting foodbanks and other local community organisations who are providing support.
If any group needs additional support or volunteers they should get in touch with Sefton CVS as they can signpost volunteers to these groups and organisations.
The Council has put out a request across its social media platforms to encourage local people to volunteer – the response has been amazing. As of March 31, over 800 people have already offered support using the CVS portal https://volunteeringsefton.org.uk Many others are working within well-established groups and other newer groups can get in touch with Sefton CVS via firstname.lastname@example.org
The Council website www.sefton.gov.uk is being updated on a regular basis with information and advice.
These are difficult and challenging times for us all. Sefton’s response means that we are confident that by continuing to work together we will be able to support local people. We are so proud to be part of Team Sefton.
If you would like to receive the notes from our Community Response Cell meeting please contact Joanne Doyle email@example.com so we can ensure that you are kept informed. If you would like to escalate anything to the Community Response Cell again, please contact Joanne.
Cllr. Trish Hardy,
Cabinet Member – Communities and Housing