Your city needs you (and here’s how you can offer help or get support)


Vulnerable residents needing help and volunteers offering support can now turn to a dedicated website and phone line.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council today launched the new service, encouraging communities to pull together in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

It has teamed up with voluntary sector organisation VAST for the #StokeonTrentTogether initiative.

It will cover a range of support options, including prescription collections, shopping for those who are self-isolating and getting gas or electricity meter top-ups.

People who need help with dog walking or even just having a conversation to keep loneliness at bay can also use the service to find support.

Council leader Abi Brown

Council leader Abi Brown said: “There will be lots of people who will be thinking at this moment in time about how they can help. That can be as simple as contacting your neighbours but, if you feel you can do more or have a particular skill that will be of use at this testing time, get in touch.

“We are really pleased to be working with VAST and we will be continuing to push this campaign over the coming weeks to ensure there is support for the vulnerable who are shielding or those self-isolating to ensure, wherever possible, they have the help they need.”

The website –  https://corona19.vast.org.uk/  – will be live from today. People can also contact the help line on 0800 561 5610 between 9am and 5pm, Mondays to Fridays.

Residents or organisations can fill in an online form or call up to state whether they are able to offer help or would like to access some support.

Mrs Brown added: “It may be that you are put in touch with a residents’ association or, in a number of areas, there are schemes operating where one person acts as the main contact for their street. There are lots of things like that going on.

“It’s a challenging time for us as a city and I know the people in Stoke-on-Trent are really generous with their time and are really renowned for being friendly.

“There’s no upper limit for the amount of volunteers who can get involved. We’re in a time where to get through this we need everybody to think about what they can do.”

Lisa Healings, acting chief executive of VAST, said: “The voluntary sector is always the first to step up and respond in times of need and we want to make the process of getting the support needed to the right people as easy as possible, so that the charities and community groups on the ground can concentrate on what they do best.

“The team at VAST have worked incredibly hard to produce a website, in a very short time,  that can not only get up to date and accurate information to the public, but give a place where both individuals and organisations can request and offer help.”





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