Oxford City Council’s new support service for the coronavirus crisis helped 342 residents last week (Mon 30 Mar-Sun 5 April).
It helped residents coping with emergency needs like food parcels and health problems from prescription deliveries to tackling loneliness.
The Council’s contact centre took 342 calls and online requests asking for support. The top three reasons for calls were:
- Urgent supplies needed
- Help needed picking up shopping
- Feeling at risk
The contact centre was able to help by referring people to the locality response hubs the council has set up for urgent problems getting food and other supplies. They also put people in touch with volunteers who can collect shopping and prescriptions, and referred callers to voluntary groups who arrange daily contact calls to tackle loneliness.
The locality response hubs have been providing food supplies to those most in need, with 190 requests for emergency supplies for people self-isolating or unable to leave their homes. The hubs also provided a family with emergency baby supplies, and collected and delivered prescriptions.
Azul Corcoran Strong from the East Oxford locality response hub explained what a difference their help can make:
“One of our residents with a new born baby contacted us at the East Hub, due to self-isolating herself she was unable to pick up a prescription for her and her baby. We were able to receive it into the hub, give the resident a call back confirming we could collect the medicine and then arrange for one of our ODS colleagues to collect the prescription and deliver it to her, within an hour of her confirming that it was ready to be picked up. Normally this would be a simple thing for her to do, but at the moment she needed some extra help and we were there for her.”
Azul Corcoran Strong from the East Oxford locality
“This is the first week that our new services to support residents have been fully operating and it’s great to see help getting to people in need. Our contact centre staff are doing a fantastic job connecting people with the right kind of support, and our hub staff are working hard to make sure there’s a good supply of emergency food, even more important now that some of our food banks have had to shut.
“We’ve partnered with voluntary organisation Oxford Hub, and together we’ve worked incredibly fast to get this support in place. It’s really important that no one goes without food and medicine, or even some simple human contact, during this crisis and our services are providing that help.”
Councillor Marie Tidball, Cabinet Member for Supporting Local Communities