Swindon Borough Council has written to more than 5,000 residents who have been identified by the NHS as being at high risk from coronavirus.
The letter, which will hit doormats this week, contains guidance around the delivery of food and medical supplies and outlines the support that is available for those experiencing loneliness as a result of isolation. A similar letter was sent out to an initial 3,185 residents earlier this month.
Through its #HereForSwindon campaign, the Council has been communicating with residents during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that those who need support are aware of the many services currently on offer.
This latest piece of communication is designed to ensure that nobody has been left out and to reinforce to vulnerable people the support systems that are in place, and how they can access them.
For those in need of food deliveries, advice is included about how they can order and pay for emergency food packages, which will be delivered to their doors by council volunteers.
Anyone who has been asked to ‘shield’ by the NHS and is feeling lonely through a lack of social contact can benefit from a Council-run scheme where volunteers will contact residents to make sure they are safe and well. Advice is given about how this service can be accessed.
Councillor Brian Ford, Swindon Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Adults and Health, said: “Throughout this pandemic we have done as much as we possibly can to ensure that people are not adversely affected by the lockdown measures.
“We have had a phenomenal response to the appeal for volunteers and I would like to thank every single person who has come forward to give their time to those who need extra support during these difficult times.
“We will continue to be here to support people for as long as we are needed, so I would encourage anybody who needs help to get in touch with us.”
The Council’s volunteering efforts are a major part of the Compassionate Swindon initiative, launched in partnership with Voluntary Action Swindon.
More than 250 volunteers are currently on board, delivering food to vulnerable people and calling those who could benefit from hearing a friendly voice.
One volunteer, Tracy Webber, has been doing volunteer work with the Council for the past few years, and during the lockdown she has been doing weekly shopping for vulnerable residents who are unable to get out.
Tracy said: “It is extremely rewarding to know that you are helping others and getting to know them as individuals.
“I took early retirement from work solely to do volunteering. I lost a dear friend three years ago and I thought life was too short. I am now able to use my time to help others, and I get to spend time with my niece’s and nephew’s little ones and to watch them grow up.”
More than 630 food parcels – a mix of purchased and free depending on peoples’ circumstances – have been handed out to those who need them and residents are encouraged to call Customer Services on 01793 445500, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, if they would like more information about the service.
Further information about the Council’s #HereForSwindon package of support is available at www.swindon.gov.uk/HereForSwindon