The following communication is from The Volunteer and People Assistance Cell, a countywide partnership to help manage and implement a coordinated effort to support those affected by coronavirus.
Letters and texts from Government have been sent to 29,090 Hertfordshire residents, identified as needing ’shielding’ because of severe health conditions, telling them to avoid any close contact for 12 weeks. These ‘extremely vulnerable groups’ have been told to stay at home at all times and aim to remain 2 metres away from anyone they live with.
We are receiving daily updates from government as people register with the national helpline and indicate they need support. Our process is for people to then be contacted by Herts Help to get more information on their specific requirements. Typically, people are needing support with food collection and food parcels are being distributed to individuals that have responded to their letter asking for help. Deliveries of regular, weekly emergency food boxes are to be delivered by the Government’s food provider partners over the coming days and weeks; until the national food delivery arrangements are in place, we are organising delivery locally and this commenced in Hertfordshire on 30 March. We will also organise food delivery for those with specific dietary requirements.
We have a central operation in place in Welwyn Garden City for storage and distribution and have arrangements in place at 10 local Shield Points in each of the Districts/Boroughs to use as required. As the national picture develops the role of Shield Points will become clearer but for now their potential role will be utilised for food and medicine storage, coordinating points for Foodbanks and volunteers/staff.
One of the key needs we have identified is for help to collect medication and this service is now ‘live’.
#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. #THV have had a phenomenal response from residents, parish and town councils and the voluntary sector wanting to support anyone that has been affected by coronavirus, is self-isolating and/or vulnerable but is not within the ‘shielded’ community.
Following feedback the #TeamHerts website has been updated to ease navigation and ensure those that wish to volunteer, register their community group or register their business as wanting to support Hertfordshire residents can do so with ease. https://www.thvolunteering.org.uk/
Just a reminder that these are the main points of contact for those wishing to help and those in need of support from volunteers;
NHS Volunteer Responders will carry out simple, non-medical tasks to support people who are highly vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19) to stay safe and well at home.
Who can join?
You can only volunteer to carry out those tasks which involve leaving your home if you fulfil ALL of the conditions below:
You are well and have no symptoms like a cough or high temperature and neither does anybody in your household
You are under 70
You are not pregnant
You do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus
What are the tasks?
Simple but vital tasks including
Driving people to and from hospital,
Delivering food and medication.
Transporting equipment and supplies,
Making regular phone calls to check on people isolating at home.
I need to stay at home – can I still help?
You can sign up as a telephone ‘check in and chat’ volunteer even if you are staying at home
Is this different from helping out my neighbours and local charities?
NHS Volunteer Responders is not intended to replace any local provision. It will provide a service where informal support is not available or where health and social care professionals do not have a way to refer people into those systems.
Due to the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic and in accordance with Government advice, Markyate Parish Council has taken the difficult decision to postpone indefinitely the Annual Gathering due to take place in the village hall on Tuesday 14 April 2020 and all future Parish Council Meetings until further notice.
Also we have made the decision to close the Parish Office to the public until further notice. We will be working ‘behind closed doors’ and will attempt to deal effectively with all enquiries by phone or email. Our email address is email@example.com or phone us on 01582 840110 and leave a message, if we are not there this will be dealt with as soon as possible.
With the current Covid-19 situation the council are investigating communication and collaboration platforms allowing us to continue to deliver a high level of service and continuity for the Markyate community.
Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts would allow staff to safely work from home, if necessary, ensuring their health and wellbeing. Additionally, we would potentially plan for council meetings to take place virtually, allowing councillors to meet remotely through the use of video and microphone.
Another benefit of this technology would be in allowing the wider community access to these scheduled remote council meetings. We hope that by improving availability of these meetings through innovative technology we will have a bigger audience than ever before.
For attendees to the meetings both Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts are available free of charge through any device with a web browser.
The council are currently undertaking feasibility and proof of concept testing on both packages to assess suitability, features and ease of use, but will take advice and guidance from the Hertfordshire Association of Parish and Town Councils.