Southwark Council have asked us to share this update with you on setting up their Community Hubs:
A huge thank you to everyone in the voluntary and community sector in Southwark for everything that you’re doing during the coronavirus pandemic. We are seeing the very best of people in the borough, stepping up to support our neighbours and our community. The sector is thriving and rightly you are all wanting to do what you can to help this effort.
This update is about what the government has asked councils to do and how we want to work in partnership with you to do this. In the last few days the Government has asked councils to set up community hubs to support the 1.5m people they have identified as needing to be shielded from the virus. This means that they cannot leave their home for the next twelve weeks and may need help with food, other essentials and support.
We have set up a distribution hub at Sandgate Street and will be distributing food to those on the shielded list until direct support starts to arrive from the government to individuals. We are also receiving requests from other individuals in need of help and so have started discussions with various partners in the voluntary and community sector about how we can refer people to organisations who can best help them. Our intention is that over time we move beyond the shielded to provide not just food but other support to all vulnerable people in the borough in partnership with the VCS. We are really pleased that Community Southwark, other voluntary and community sector representatives and health partners have joined the Community Hub Steering Group to make sure that we are all involved in delivering this together.
In addition to people on the shielded list, there are many other vulnerable people who will need additional help in this time especially some who can’t rely on friends and family at this time. We want to work with you, community sector organisations, as well as the health service and local businesses to make sure that everything that we are all doing is joined up and we are getting support to where it is needed.
Already we have had conversations about how we can appropriately check data with each other, and how we can refer people to different organisations. We are talking with organisations about resources that they may need to do this, and offering capacity support to help in this unprecedented situation.
To ensure that we maintain a dialogue through this situation and that we can each share information with each other Jess Leech, our Community Engagement Manager, will liaise with voluntary and community sector organisations directly. This means that if there are difficulties we can quickly try to resolve them, and also means that we can make sure information is flowing both ways effectively. If you want to get in touch with Jess, her details are: Jessica.Leech@southwark.gov.uk, or call: 07985 113 786.
We will receive requests from a variety of sources, which we would like to refer to one of your organisations. Likewise, if you are working with people, it would be helpful for us to check who they are against our central list. That would avoid duplication and make sure that all of us are using our resources as effectively as possible.
Any information can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are using this central mailbox to ensure we coordinate information and requests effectively across the various teams that are working on this.
There is also so much we can learn from each other, and we are very keen to find the best way we can to keep communication open and establish a shared approach to respond to this crisis.