King's Lynn and West Norfolk Borough Council have worked quickly to establish a local, co-ordinating Community Hub to get critical support to those most in need.
During this difficult time, we need to help the vulnerable in our community by providing grocery essentials, collecting prescriptions and medicines, ensuring that people feel safe and making sure they know who they can turn to in their time of need.
As part of the Covid-19 support package, the government announced it would directly support 1.4 million people who have been identified as particularly vulnerable . Council’s across Norfolk and the UK have been setting up Community Hubs so that government support can get through as quickly as possible to those in need. Over 500 calls have been made to residents on the government’s shielded list to find out what they need and how they can be supported.
Public services in Norfolk were aware, however, that the this national list would not identify everyone who needs some extra help. With the expert knowledge provided by the local AskLily service and a network of co-ordinators, the council have established a new Norfolk-wide helpline and a team of volunteers to assist those who need it. Letters have been sent out to every household in Norfolk asking them to the helpline number 0344 800 8020.
Staff have been trained specifically on what support can be provided. They give people who are isolated and vulnerable, who are not on the shielded list, help, support and signposting to other organisations.
James Wild MP said, "It is heartening to see such strength in our community spirit at this time of national crisis. West Norfolk has to work together to fight Covid-19 as a team, and I am so grateful to the Council, coordinators, volunteers, charities and local businesses for all their help in getting the Community Hub up and running."
Cllr Brian Long, Leader of the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, said: “We have been inundated with offers of help from community, parish and church groups that have set themselves up to support people in their villages and parishes, and from businesses who can offer deliveries or free supplies. It is totally humbling and very, very welcome."
AskLilly.org.uk have listed all these offers of help and local services on to their website. This means that everyone can find out what is available in their own village or community.
A group of businesses have also assisted with the development of a physical food hub, where food parcels are put together to help those who are unable to access the basic supplies. This is in addition to the government food supplies, and the Borough Council thanks the following companies: Shaun Hodgson Engineering Ltd; AMR Group Smith Building Services Ltd; West East Anglia Asbestos Ltd; Brights Cleaning Services; Beacon Water Treatments Ltd; UK Fire Safety Management Ltd; Focus Security; 1-2 Call Drainage & Groundwork Ltd; and Nationwide Pallet Racking Services Ltd. The Council has been working closely with King’s Lynn Food bank, local supermarkets and other suppliers.
Cllr Stuart Dark, Cabinet Member for Emergency Planning, said: “The first food parcels went out this weekend. We are delighted that we are up and running and already providing much-needed support to people in our communities. The feedback we are receiving from the community is amazing, whether it’s been about supplies people can’t get hold of such as baby formula, or collecting and delivering medication, or simply being available to provide reassurance. Many, many vulnerable people are isolated and extremely anxious, the team members are able to help alleviate their fears and help them feel less isolated."
Anyone who feels that they can volunteer should go through the Voluntary Norfolk website, businesses who are able to offer support should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Working with the Norfolk Community Foundation, councils have launched a Covid-19 Community Response Fund, which will be directed to charities on the front line of caring for people across the county. To make a donation visit the Norfolk Community Foundation website.
The county-wide helpline 0344 800 8020 is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and for emergencies on Saturday and Sunday between 10am and 4pm. Arrangements for the Easter weekend are being made and further updates will be provided.
Please keep checking the Borough Council of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk and Norfolk County Council website and social media channels for updates.