Support Hub for Extremely Vulnerable People Reinstated
South Tyneside Council has stood up its Covid-19 Community Support Hub to assist vulnerable residents who are at greatest risk from coronavirus and have no other means of support.
Following the announcement of a second national lockdown, the Government is writing to people who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) with new guidance on how to protect themselves from coronavirus.
The new measures are less restrictive than previous 'shielding' advice, with those residents (including children) with serious underlying health conditions still able to attend NHS appointments, exercise outdoors and meet outside with one other person from outside their household or support bubble.
However, they are advised NOT to go out to work, to shops or to pharmacies, and not to travel unless the journey is essential.
Residents are encouraged to ask friends, family or neighbours to assist with food shopping or medicines collections wherever possible. Alternatively, they can use online shopping or contact their local pharmacy to arrange delivery of medication.
High risk residents are strongly urged to register with the National Shielding Support System (NSSS), which will give them access to priority supermarket delivery slots and other wellbeing assistance. It is important they register even if help is not needed at this time. This will enable the local support to be targeted to those most in need.
The South Tyneside Covid-19 Community Support Hub has been reinstated to assist those identified as clinically extremely vulnerable, who are living on their own without any other support network such as family, friends or neighbours, to help with access to essentials like food and medicines.
It is also available for those who are struggling with their wellbeing and need signposting to services.
Councillor Tracey Dixon, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council, said: "Once again, there has been a national call to people with serious underlying health conditions to take extra measures to keep themselves safe during this second lockdown.
"We would like to stress that those residents most at risk are not being asked to 'shield' again, but to follow new less restrictive Government guidance to minimise their exposure to coronavirus.
"The new measures aim to strike a balance between protecting high risk residents while reducing some of the potentially harmful effects of previous strict shielding guidance on mental and social wellbeing by enabling them to still enjoy the outdoors.
"We understand that this will be an anxious time for those people who live alone and have no other means of support such as family, friends or neighbours to turn to. For this reason, we have stood up our Covid-19 Community Support Hub, with a dedicated team of staff redeployed from their usual duties to ensure those affected are once again supported during times of crisis."
The Council is working with voluntary and community organisations to provide targeted support to those who need it and has already started contacting people in the affected group. The support will be tailored for individual needs and will include help with:
- Digital support to register for priority supermarket delivery slots;
- Accessing essential food and basic supplies;
- Additional care for those who live alone and don't have family, friends, neighbours or social care services for support;
- Welfare checks by the Council, if needed;
- Signposting to financial or welfare support, befriending services, mental health and support from voluntary organisations.
Residents who are identified as Clinically Extremely Vulnerable may have previously received a letter from the NHS, or their GP, advising them that they are in this group and they may have been asked to shield during the first national lockdown. In South Tyneside, there are more than 7,000 people in this category.
The new letter from the Government will set out the latest government guidelines for their group as well as provide details on how to register with the National Shielding Support Service at www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support for help to secure priority supermarket shopping slots and additional support.
The Council can help people to register with the NSSS by calling the Covid-19 Community Support Hub on (0191) 424 7575.Family, friends and neighbours can also register on behalf of a Clinically Extremely Vulnerable person.
Councillor Dixon said: "Residents with serious underlying health conditions are urged to stay at home as much as they can. However, if they do go out, then they must do so safely, by taking extra care to protect themselves, keeping interactions to an absolute minimum and following the guidance around Hands, Face and Space.
"Family, friends and wider communities are already playing a significant role in supporting each other to stay safe and this is fantastic. However, there are some people being asked to stay home because of their health, or to self-isolate, who have no support network. Please rest assured we are here for them. It is important that they get in touch if they need us and do not try to do this on their own."
People living with clinically extremely vulnerable residents will be expected to follow the new National Restrictions for the general population and continue to attend school and to work from home, where they can.
The new measures apply for the duration of the national lockdown until Wednesday 2 December.
Vulnerable residents, who have no other means of support, can call the Covid-19 Community Support Hub on (0191) 424 7474, from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
For further information about South Tyneside Council's response to the coronavirus pandemic, including further details about the Covid-19 Community Support Hub, visit the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus
Details of national lockdown restrictions are available on the Government website at www.gov.uk/coronavirus