Community support line
Written by karen on 6 April 2020
People with no-one to help them get food or essential items while they are self-isolating can get support from Swale Borough Council.
The council has set up a community support line to help people who don’t have friends or family around to help whilst they keep themselves, or others, safe from coronavirus.
The support line can help these people with things like collecting their food shopping, or other essential items, so they can stay safe in their homes.
To keep people safe from coronavirus, the government have also asked certain groups to self-isolate, either because they are in high risk groups or because they, or someone they live with, has symptoms of coronavirus.
Most of these people will have a network of support – family, friends and neighbours – who can help them whilst they’re self-isolating, but there will be some who don’t.
There is support from the government for the clinically vulnerable, but this can take time to arrive, and isn’t available to those who are self-isolating because they or someone in their household is displaying symptoms.
This is where the council is stepping in, by working with local volunteers to help these people who have no-one else to turn to for support.
Cllr Roger Truelove, leader of the council, said:
“We all need to be doing the right thing and staying at home unless we have a good reason such as going out for food or essential supplies.
“We can also try to help each other by keeping in touch with family, friends and neighbours who may be self-isolating. It might be that you can help them with things like picking up their shopping, or even just being a friendly voice on the end of the phone whilst they’re staying safe at home.
“For those who don’t have this kind of support network around them, we have been working with community partners for more than a week to help with things like shopping pick-ups.
“Since the county-wide #KentTogether line opened on Wednesday, they’ve sent us more referrals for help than any other Kent district.
“This shows how vital it is for us to work together and support each other during this pandemic, and we ask that people only contact us if they don’t have someone to help.
“Demand on the service is high and we need to make sure we prioritise those that are most vulnerable and are in greatest need.”
Cllr Richard Palmer, cabinet member for communities at the council, said:
“We are getting regular updates from the government with details of the clinically vulnerable in our area. Over the last 10 days we’ve contacted around 500 people in this group, to make sure they have support in place, and if not, we’ll step in to help.
“As this is a fast-changing situation there will be people we don’t yet know about, which is why we’re asking them to call us so they can stay safe and well at home.
“We’ve had a fantastic support from the local community – from local groups, organisations, and volunteers – and it heart-warming to see how people from all walks of life are willing to roll up their sleeves and help people they’ve never met before.”
The community support line is available on 01795 417525 and can offer help to people who are:
- over 70
- under 70 with underlying health conditions
- self-isolating because they, or someone they live with, have symptoms of coronavirus
and have no friends or family nearby who can help with things like food shopping or topping up prepay meters.
The line is open from:
- 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday
- 9am to 4:30pm Friday
- 10am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday, and bank holidays.
Outside these times people can contact the Kent Together helpline on 03000 41 92 92 or at www.kent.gov.uk/KentTogether.
For more information, visit www.swale.gov.uk/community-response.