Volunteers are being asked to come forward to help some of Stoke-on-Trent’s most vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis.
#StokeonTrentTogether has been formed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council working alongside local charity and voluntary sector organisation VAST to meet the everyday needs of vulnerable residents who are affected by Covid-19, specifically those who are self-isolating and who do not have the support of friends or family.
The initiative offers a free call telephone line and website service so that people can access help to get basic food supplies, prescription collections, gas or electricity meter top-ups, regular conversations and even dog walking.
Almost 400 volunteers have already registered but more are being urged to sign up as 500 people have already turned to the helpline for help and support.
Nearly 120 residents rang the service over the weekend after opening hours were extended to seven days a week, which included requests for help with prescriptions, nappies and baby formula.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “Already 129 organisations across the city have volunteered to support #StokeonTrentTogether. It’s been an amazing response but we need more people to come forward to help. Your city needs you.
“It can be as simple as agreeing to phone someone who may be lonely in their own home as they self-isolate. Whatever level of support you sign up to give will go a huge way to making a difference to people in need.
“Over the weekend we worked closely with The Hubb Foundation in Burslem to get emergency supplies out to people in need. We were able to get food out to one resident who hadn’t eaten for two days after becoming ill with the virus and self-isolating.
“We also got nappies and formula to a young family who are all self-isolating. It is invaluable work and we know that the people of Stoke-on-Trent will get out of it as much as they put in.
“While our team of volunteers and staff were able to meet all the demand, we want more volunteers to come forward. We are also encouraging people who would like to support with donations to go to their local food bank, although they should do this in a considered way that is mindful of government advice on social distancing and essential journeys only.”
Food parcels have also started to be delivered to people who cannot leave their homes across Stoke-on-Trent. These first food parcels are being co-ordinated by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to support the most vulnerable residents in the city who have been told to self-isolate at home for 12 weeks in response to the coronavirus crisis.
A total of 1.5 million extremely vulnerable people have been asked to shield themselves during the pandemic as the Government urges residents nationally to ‘stay at home and save lives.’
Pallets of supplies were received at Fenton Manor Leisure Centre which, since it was shut to members of the public as a result of Covid-19, is now doubling up as a logistical hub to help with distribution of the critical supplies across the city.
Staff from Unitas, the council’s housing repair company, and council staff – some of whom have been redeployed from other non-essential council services that have closed – have worked to co-ordinate the supplies. The packages contain essentials such as bread, milk, toilet roll, pasta, fruit and tinned goods and are enough to give an individual food for a week.
Mrs Brown said: “The situation is fast-paced and ever changing but it’s been extremely heart-warming to hear that alongside the work by #StokeonTrentTogether, the first packages are being delivered to some of the most vulnerable in our city.
StokeonTrentLive has created a dedicated group on Facebook for COVID 19 (coronavirus) updates. Join for sensible, accurate and informed updates – click here.
“We are linking with our suppliers and making the best use of supply chains in the city – such as wholesalers that we have contracts with as well as our City Catering teams – so that we can continue to help the people that we need to.
“Across the city, people are standing up to be counted. It’s amazing to see such selfless acts of kindness and support for those in greatest need. I’m so proud of everyone involved. These are extraordinary times where we’re seeing an extraordinary response. I’m in no doubt Stoke-on-Trent will shine in these challenging times.”
Donations can be received at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, in City Road, Fenton or Dimensions Leisure Centre, Scotia Road, Burslem between 8.30am and 4.30pm as well as to other food banks across the city. Donations of food, nappies, baby milk, baby wipes and sanitary products are particularly welcome.
Residents can access the #StokeonTrentTogether website here, or call 0800 5615610 seven days a week between 9am-5pm.
Drop a heart on our special map of gratitude to show your support for our NHS heroes https://www.thanksamillionnhs.co.uk/