Coronavirus: Chelmsford Council taskforce to coordinate support for vulnerable
Chelmsford City Council is backing volunteers who want to help the city’s vulnerable residents in the current crisis. The Council has set up a taskforce to ensure strong links between council services, the voluntary sector, and the wider community.
The City Council has appointed Councillor Natacha Dudley as Community Engagement Champion, to lead a Volunteering and Community Engagement Taskforce. This new taskforce consists of six Councillors from across the parties. Its main aim is to support the district’s fantastic volunteers to tackle social isolation of the vulnerable and delivering shopping and medicines to residents.
Leader of Chelmsford City Council, Councillor Stephen Robinson, said, “Hundreds of amazing people across Chelmsford are already volunteering. We want to help plug any gaps in the networks - encouraging more people to volunteer and help identify people who need help but have been missed so far. We encourage these volunteers to link up with the NHS or local charities to help them stay safe too.
“The Council is reorganising its normal services to tackle the worst public health crisis in a century. We also want to support and encourage volunteers so they can protect the most vulnerable in our community through this crisis. We are working closely with the Chelmsford Centre Supporting Voluntary Action (CSVA) (https://chelmsfordcvs.org.uk/).”
Donate to Chelmsford Voluntary Service for distribution The City Council is urging volunteers to support by donating food and essential supplies to donating sites, such as the local Food Bank (locations found at https://chelmsford.foodbank.org.uk/), which is acting as a drop off point on behalf of the Chelmsford Centre Supporting Voluntary Action (CSVA). The CSVA will then pass the donations on to charities and groups who are equipped to distribute food to a wide range of people. These include Age UK, Age Concern, Community Transport, Barnardo’s, the Social Care Team at Mid E and those identified by Social Prescribers. Encourage neighbourly help and assistance for vulnerable people Essex County Council’s Public Health Team has created an ‘Essex Coronavirus Action’ page, with the aim of signing up volunteers and businesses ready to support those in need. It offers a service to assist vulnerable members of the local community who may need help if they are self-isolating by putting them or their carers/families in touch with individuals or agencies who can assist, advising against risk and misinformation.
Any resident or business wishing to volunteer in their local area, can do so by registering through the links below. Details will be passed directly to the group or groups that are operating near to you. The key aim is to rapidly build a large database of volunteers to support those in Essex who need the support of their wider community.
Individuals - http://bit.ly/ecaformvolunteers Businesses - http://bit.ly/ecaformbusinesses
Become a British Red Cross Community Reserve Volunteer Chelmsford City Council is asking people to make themselves known to the British Red Cross to be a Community Reserve Volunteer, to be deployed at times of crisis to help local communities. Details of how to get involved with this can be found at https://reserves.redcross.org.uk/. Volunteers are encouraged to refer individuals they may identify as needing greater support to this service.
Speaking on behalf of the taskforce, Cllr Natacha Dudley, said, “We are grateful to everyone who has already volunteered their time and resources. We are working with partners and the established voluntary and community sector in Chelmsford to encourage everyone to work together – and ensure that residents who want to help have a place to go to offer their support.
She added, “We need to put in place systems to manage volunteering that will be sustainable over many months and will put the safety of vulnerable residents first. We also recognise our role in communicating what is happening here in Chelmsford as we work together to support our community through this challenging time.”
It is important that all volunteers and groups follow national guidance (www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance) so that they can volunteer safely and reduce the risk of inadvertently spreading the virus.
For all the latest updates and news from Chelmsford City Council, follow @ChelmsCouncil on Facebook and Twitter or join the mailing lists at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/mailinglist. You can also check for updates on particular services at www.chelmsford.gov.uk/coronavirus.