Before reading the attached it may be worth just reflecting for a minute on those people who only a couple of weeks ago were on the frontline in in their community helping people but who unfortunately have lost their lives to Coronavirus a disease that is non-discriminatory – people we may not have known personally but have been a part of the collective response we are all making.
Another week and another set of problems over come but no doubt we will all encounter new ones again next week – I am trying to maintain this weekly Bulletin as a means of communicating with people who may be volunteering, organisations providing support and staff from a wide range of agencies. At a time of crisis like we are encountering various barriers have been removed as we all have a common goal of helping others.
– John Gallanders, Chief Officer at AVOW
To everyone providing support at Street Level, Community Organisations and Public Services across Wrexham:
Firstly, thank you to everyone who has registered to volunteer in our community, and to everyone adapting their lives during this crisis.
This week both AVOW and those volunteering at Street Level have seen a significant increase in the number of people seeking help and assistance. We anticipate that this will continue until both volunteer placements and long-term support is put in place in the area to respond to the needs of those vulnerable or self-isolating in our communities.
AVOW continues to be a conduit to the Council on current issues that are arising and there is a strong working relationship across many Departments both operationally and at senior management level. At the moment, this includes sharing our resources and databases to avoid duplication.
AVOW is now a member of the North Wales Covid 19 Community Resilience Group and able to take strategic issues to move them forward.
AVOW continue to register volunteers in the area. Over the next few weeks we anticipate demand to increase for volunteers to support services experiencing shortages due to vulnerability, self-isolation, sickness or resources. Let’s keep the momentum up and continue to register at: https://bit.ly/2QgCtfd.
If you have already registered and not received a placement, please wait to be contacted by Wrexham Volunteer Centre. There has been an influx of Street Level volunteers that are currently providing local support but we are aware that this is not consistent over the County, as gaps arise in Street Level support our bank of volunteers will step-in, as well in care homes, community care and other public services, we will be in touch as these placements arise.
Colleagues from across the Health Service are facing daily challenges as they deal with unprecedented demand on their services. Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board have now established a new portal for people to sign up to volunteer https://awyrlas.org.uk/bcuhb-volunteers
A key role for volunteers has been the collection of food on behalf of those who are isolating and can’t get out. One of the problems has been around the payment of shopping and people rightly being reluctant to hand over their bank cards to people they may not know- guidance attached.
To assist with shopping needs, AVOW are producing an extensive list of shops and business that are providing either doorstep delivery or over the phone payments. This should help many people who have been unable to get online delivery slots with the major supermarkets
The Foodbank in Wrexham is still operational and has started a number of doorstep deliveries, however this service is a last resort provision and is not for people’s ongoing needs. The Foodbank is available to anyone with a necessary voucher issued by a support agency.
There has been some confusion over the eligibility of a Free Food Parcels from Welsh Government. These are only available to people who have received a letter from the Welsh Government advising they need to stay at home for a 12-week period to ‘Shield’ themselves. The letters have gone to approximately 85,000 people across Wales to a specific group who have defined medical conditions.
Anyone with a letter must first identify family, friend or community support that is available to fulfill their needs. If no support is available, then they need to contact Wrexham Council Borough Council through the phone number on your letter, your details will then be added to the Welsh Government database.
Once on this database you will receive a weekly food parcel that contains basic requirement- all parcels are the same at present so special dietary requests are not possible. The Food Parcel will be delivered to your door by a commercial contractor and not by the Council or AVOW.
If you, or someone you know thinks they fall into the category but have not received a letter please contact your GP. This process and criteria are potentially subject to change as things develop.
This service is not based on financial need and everyone should be doing their best to use all existing support for their food needs before contacting the Council. For more information on Community Contacts please see the Wrexham Community Map.
Free School Meals
A Grab and Go scheme has been developed as an initial response for children who are entitled to Free School Meals – these are now being distributed in a variety of Council and Community locations across the County.
It is hoped that a Voucher Scheme will be launched in Wales soon.
Good Neighbour Cooking
Making an extra meal for someone who is isolating is a really good way to help people living close to you.
Delivered Hot Food
A number of business have started delivering hot food and this list will be available at www.avow.org this week.
Many people have found obtaining their medication an issue, please first use any existing community support, you can find this via the Community Support Pathway.
If there is nothing suitable then please send further information to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01978 312556 to reach a member of the AVOW Covid19 Team..
Requests have been coming in this week for transport for people to non Covid19 appointments. These have been undertaken by AVOW Bank volunteers but if someone is requiring transport please give 48 hours’ notice. There may be some restrictions applied to this service as a risk assessment will be undertaken on each occasion.
Response time from volunteers
Neither the AVOW Bank volunteers or those from the community should be seen as an emergency response. Where possible AVOW endeavour to place a volunteer within 24 – 48 hours subject to availability.
The wellbeing of volunteers and staff is crucial, and every organisation should have support identified that they can call upon or recommend. There are several online resources at the moment, but two helpful links are the Wellbeing list from MIND and resources available for young people in Wrexham County Borough through Young Wrexham.
Street Level Data
Wrexham Council and AVOW have been working jointly to gather data from across our communities to identify the extent of the support that is available across the county.
AVOW are particularly interested in identifying black spots that have limited organised support to ensure that no vulnerable people slip through the net. To ensure this is kept up-to-date please read our Open Call to Organisations or email email@example.com if any changes occur.
There are various new funding opportunities that have been launched that may assist with the support you are providing either individually or as an organisation. You can access the information through our Grants and Funding pages or through our Facebook Group Funding with AVOW.
If you are an organisation or business that have offices or premises you should check your insurance policy as many have clauses in relation to buildings being left unoccupied for 30 days or more. You may need to contact your insurance company.
Working from home
Home insurance should cover working from home but not any stock equipment. If you’re working from home when you don’t normally, provided it’s office or clerical work, most insurers are taking a relaxed approach (one key is that no business visitors come to your home, but that’s not likely right now). But if you’ve brought expensive kit or stock home, it’s worth informing them.
Coronavirus has led to an increase in scams and false offers of help, there is now further guidance available from National Trading Standards and Friends Against Scams.
The North Wales Safeguarding Board are asking everyone within the region to look out for one another in order to help those who may be at risk of abuse and neglect. This is a message which applies at all times, but now more than ever, people at all ages need protection.
For the latest information and guidance on the Coronavirus pandemic, locally, nationally and internationally please see our updates page.
Further guidance for Voluntary Organisations is now available from Welsh Government and resources available through WCVA.
AVOW hope to keep this as a weekly briefing to share with our community’s support information and guidance- if there are particular issues you want information on email firstname.lastname@example.org
The content of this briefing is provided for information only. It is not intended to amount to advice on which you should rely. You must obtain professional or specialist advice before taking, or refraining from, any action based on the content. We do not accept responsibility for any errors, omissions, misleading statements or the consequences thereof.