Council reflects on support for vulnerable people as guidance changes

New guidance for people who have been self-isolating (shielding) since late March has been introduced, and Warwickshire County Council is using the opportunity to reflect on the support offered to this group in the intervening weeks.

From 6 July, those people identified as clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 are now able to meet outside in groups of up to six people and single adults can form a support bubble with one other household. This is ahead of additional freedoms to be introduced from 1 August such as returning to work, town centres and places of worship.

In Warwickshire, for the past 14 weeks, parcels of food and household items have been offered to this group, an arrangement that will cease at the end of July. In this time over 10,000 boxes have been packed and delivered to residents all over the county who have been without support and unable to go out.

Warwickshire’s Lord Lieutenant Tim Cox visited the Warwickshire distribution hub on the day the 10,000th box was packed and he said of the support: “I have been so impressed with the smooth operation in Warwickshire and it was inspiring to see first-hand the work that has gone into ensuring vulnerable people received this essential aid during these unprecedented times.

It has truly been a Warwickshire effort with the County Council working closely with military support, colleagues in the five district and boroughs, the community and voluntary sector and other services to get people urgent help that they have needed at this time. The service has been a lifeline and whilst I am honoured to have been here to pack the 10,000 th box, the credit is all for them.”

The council has written to everyone in this group offering alternative solutions to access provisions and reminds anyone who will need a priority supermarket delivery slot to register online at https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable by 17 July. Anyone who needs help to do this can contact the hotline on 0800 408 1447.

Although the county’s food parcels will stop, support for vulnerable people will continue. The hotline will remain open to help people who need advice and information as they navigate the new normal. As well as assistance to access food, financial advice and emotional support is on hand as well as signposting to a wealth of services in local communities to provide ongoing help.

Councillor Izzi Seccombe, Leader of Warwickshire County Council said: “I want to thank everyone involved in this work to support the county’s shielded individuals – teams responsible for the distribution of parcels, the hotline operators who have had over 16,000 conversations with vulnerable people, as well as all the volunteers and community groups who have wholeheartedly supported these efforts.

Everyone has demonstrated true community spirit to offer some comfort and stability to many people at such an unsettling time. We hope people will welcome the alternative arrangements to accessing food in a way that gives them back some choice and control and I urge anyone who needs a supermarket delivery slot to register, or seek help to register, before 17 July.

We are still in this together and the hotline support will continue as we work hard to restore our services and continue to help the people of Warwickshire to stay as safe and healthy as possible.

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