Oxford City Council’s support service for the coronavirus crisis has taken 1066 referrals since it began operating on 26 March, taking 283 calls and online requests for help last week (13 - 26 April)
The emergency support helps residents coping with emergency needs like food parcels and health problems from prescription deliveries to tackling loneliness, as well as having trained staff who work with residents to understand and support more complex situations.
The top reasons for calls last week were:
- 146 requests for urgent supplies
- 99 calls for help picking up shopping
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.
Residents needing support can fill out the form online at www.oxford.gov.uk/CommunityAssistance or call the contact centre on 01865 249 811.
The teams are always looking for ways to make sure people feel cared for and connected. Last weekend staff discovered that one of the residents they were supporting was having her 95th birthday. They organised a birthday cards and special delivery to mark the occasion to make sure she knew people were thinking of her on the day.
"We know that people appreciate the emergency support we give, but it's not just about the essentials - it's really rewarding when we can do something like this that we know will make a difference to someone's day.”
Michael Woods from the City Council team who delivered the surprise gifts
“The fact we’ve had over 1000 referrals shows how important it is that we provide emergency support for residents. There has always been some need for extra help, but this crisis has meant a lot of people who were getting by now face new problems, and they need a helping hand. Asking for help can be hard, but this an extraordinarily difficult time for everyone and as your local authority we are here to give you the support we can though our emergency response. Please ask for help if you need it.”
Marie Tidball, Cabinet Member for Supporting Local Communities