We have again seen an increasing daily total of people who have been dying from Coronavirus, many of us won’t have direct links to any of the deceased but we are all coming to terms with a virus that has attacked our way of life.
Many of those that have died sadly were people going about their daily life with commitment and dedication. Our thoughts go out to all their family members who have been affected and our praise to all those who continue to provide support in our services whether paid or volunteer.
How vulnerable is your neighbour?
We are three weeks into the new restrictions, do all our communities know who their vulnerable people are? In our communities we need to ensure that no-one is left unsupported. If someone is in need of support please follow the Community Support Pathway, using the contacts on the Wrexham Community Contact Map for your area. If there is no help available locally, please contact the AVOW Team by email firstname.lastname@example.org with details of support required and contact information.
If you suspect a Safeguarding issue, please call Wrexham County Borough Council by phone 01978 292000.
The AVOW bank of volunteers is now standing at over 400, volunteers from all walks of life, and commitments of their own are giving their time to help in the community. There is a wealth of support at Community and Street Level being devised by community agents, community councils and council members, as well as neighbourhood volunteers and the AVOW bank.
If you are interested in volunteering through AVOW, you can find out more about volunteering on this website, or if you would like to give your time in your local community please read our Open Call to All.
Colleagues from across the Health Service are facing daily challenges as they deal with unprecedented demand on their services. Betsi Cadwaladr University Healthy Board charity Awyr Las / Blue Sky have also launched a volunteering recruitment portal for health care settings, if you would like to volunteer with them please register on the Blue Sky website.
There has been a fantastic response to the AVOW Volunteer Recruitment Scheme, which large numbers of individuals registering to volunteer in their local communities. Often people will be registered at Street Level on a Volunteer Bank and with the Health Board. At present, the demand for volunteers is relatively low in the area, we are monitoring the situation and providing roles as they occur.
If you know someone who needs to access help locally, please contact AVOW by email email@example.com.
This is an ongoing issue which is being addressed by local and national authorities. Last week Welsh Government signed an arrangement with several supermarkets to establish a ‘Priority Order System’. Please note this service is available for individuals with a ‘Shielding’ letter and not for general vulnerabilities.
- If you are having difficulty accessing a delivery slot through your usual supermarket, you may consider contacting a local independent retailer, a comprehensive list is available through AVOW. These retailers can often provide telephone payment and door-step delivery, as well as supporting local businesses during this difficult time.
- If you are aware of a retailer not on our list, please contact AVOW with further details to Covid19@avow.org.
Parcels for ‘Shielded’ people are being delivered but are only available for those who have no family, friends, or access to volunteer shoppers. The parcels contact a limited product range and therefore it may be more suitable to contact a volunteer through the Community Support Pathway. There is further guidance available for people ‘Shielding’ through Public Health Wales.
- If you believe someone should be ‘Shielding’ but they have not received a letter they should contact their GP directly.
The food bank is still operating and has predominantly moved to a doorstep delivery service being provided by Rhosddu Carpets for which they are very grateful.
- Please note this service is only available for those who have been referred and presented with a voucher from a range of support providers.
- If you are in a position to donate items to the Foodbank, please consider doing so. Information on how to donate money or food items can be found on the Wrexham Foodbank website.
Free School Meals
There is still confusion about this scheme in Wales with each county operating their own system while they wait for an all Wales voucher scheme. In Wrexham they have been operating a Grab and Go Bag system across the County.
If your children aren’t in school and they’re entitled to free school meals, you can collect their packed lunches from one of the following sites:
- Caia Park Estates office
- Plas Madoc Estates office
- Broughton Estates office
- Gwersyllt Estates office
- Rhos Estates office (Stiwt)
- Memo Hall Wrexham
- Plas Pentwyn Coedpoeth
- Llay Resource Centre
- Overton Library (Cocoa Rooms)
- Ysgol Y Waen Chirk
- Brymbo Resource Centre
Packed lunches must be collected between 11.30am and 1pm by a parent or carer. You’ll need to give staff the name of your child / children and the school they attend, and you’ll only be able to collect a packed lunch for your own child / children.
One of the frequent roles for volunteers is collecting prescriptions for vulnerable individuals, however, one of our biggest issues is waiting times. Although this is a known issue in the area, and solutions are being reviewed, the situation has not been resolved yet. For the time being individuals looking for this service should use the Community Support Pathway to identify support.
Volunteers should take ID and a note from the person whose prescription it is. Most pharmacies will be able to hand over medication under these circumstances, however, there may be some issues with ‘Controlled Drugs’ which should be arranged on a case by case basis.
Mental Health and Wellbeing
As we enter the third week of lockdown, the toll on our mental health and wellbeing will begin to show. We all need to be mindful of the wellbeing of our Friends, Family and Neighbours as well as our Staff and Volunteers that are helping at such a difficult time.
Anyone running a support scheme should give Staff and Volunteers plenty of opportunity to talk about their experiences and concerns. Weeks 3 – 5 are likely to be the most stressful whilst people adjust to a new normal and It is essential to have open and honest discussions about our mental health.
There are many resources to support people but please access this support from a trusted source, such as the MIND website or others in the local area.
Wrexham Hub 3D printing PPE
Fantastic news – by the time you read this we will have hit £8,000.
Last week AVOW sent out a fundraising campaign for the Wrexham 3D Printed PPE Scheme through local schools and colleges across Wrexham County Borough. So far, this campaign has raised £8,000 in 3D printers and materials to provide PPE to Health and Social Care Staff across North Wales. These masks are so vital in protecting our invaluable workforce who are facing daily risks.
The real work is being carried out by a team at the Wrexham Hub, based at Ysgol Clywedog and other schools in the area.
A big thank you to those readers who have donated so far.
Grants and Funding
Local Grant Scheme
AVOW have received £25,000 to support organisations providing support during the Coronavirus across Wrexham County Borough. Organisations in the county can apply for up-to £1,000.
Applications will be received on a rolling basis and they will be fast tracked to ensure that funding reaches those most at need in our communities. For further information please read the guidance and application form on our website.
We are expecting many applications so please submit as soon as possible.
National Grant Scheme
A separate fund is being administered by WCVA for amounts up to £100,000. Both schemes are part of an initial £24 million support package from the Welsh Government to support the voluntary and community sector across Wales responding to Covid19.
For further information on the larger grants, please read the guidance available.
Further Grants and Funding
There are other Grant schemes and funding opportunities becoming available as the situation evolves. For the latest information please see the AVOW Grants and Funding page, or join the Funding with AVOW Facebook Group.
For information and guidance, please contact Nigel Davies, Funding Officer at AVOW by email Nigel.Davies@avow.org
General Information about the Coronavirus situation
There is now a wealth of information available about the developing situation and we encourage you to stay connected with reliable news sources in the area. There is a comprehensive list of resources available on our website.
Adherence to the government guidelines is as important now than ever to help reduce the pressure on our National Health Service (NHS) and save lives.
Any organisations operating to support vulnerable people in our communities are asked to contact AVOW to enable us to sign-post correctly, please read our Open Call to Voluntary and Community Organisations.
Further guidance for Voluntary Organisations is available from Welsh Government and resources available through WCVA.
Volunteering and Staff
There are many resources available to help support volunteers whether in a formal organisation or informal Street Level volunteering arrangements, including guidance from Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA)
There is guidance available for the Third Sector from a number of source listed in our website as well as from AVOW. For direct advice please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01978 312556. Another excellent resource for anyone is to sign-up for the updates provided by email@example.com
After numerous enquiries, AVOW has identified some useful articles around Car Insurance for volunteers and working from home. It is always best to ring your insurance company and ask for guidance on your own policy or inform them of any change of use for your personal vehicles.
There are many factors to consider in supporting staff who are working from home and a number of useful articles available. More resources will become available in the coming weeks.
Please note that HMRC has increased the non-taxable Home Working Allowance to £6 per week from 1st April 2020.
Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks
AVOW can now offer DBS Checks for volunteers, this will enable them to broaden the roles they undertake and provide assurance to those seeking help. If you or someone in your organisation may need a DBS, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
At a time of crisis, it can feel that the voice of what is happening on the ground does not get through to the tiers above. AVOW would like to give assurance that any issues that are raised that we cannot resolve are taken forward to the appropriate tier.
if you have any issues you feel need to be discussed at a strategic planning level affecting voluntary and community support email email@example.com
Wrexham County Borough (Local)
John Gallanders, Chief Officer for AVOW, is the community representative on the Wrexham County Borough Council Emergency Management and Response. Team (WCBC EMRT) weekly meeting feeding into the planning process and updating on voluntary and community activity.
North Wales (Regional)
AVOW is a representative on the North Wales Community Resilience Group. This group is chaired by the North Wales Police (NWP) and includes representation from each county, as well as British Red Cross, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB), Salvation Army and other regional emergency planners. Issues not resolved are fed into the higher Gold Command structure.
Wales & United Kingdom (National)
Wales-wide issues are discussed at weekly meetings with Wales Council for Voluntary Action (WCVA), who in addition have regular meetings with Welsh Government and Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA).
Take a few minutes to remember all of those who have died during this pandemic, their families and all those people across the country who are choosing to use their time to help others.
We are all in this together.
There is a digital memorial for the Key Workers who have sadly lost their lives to this virus, including Medical Staff, Nursing & Midwifery Staff, Allied Health Professionals, Ancillary Staff, and Social Care Workers available online
AVOW hopes to keep this as a weekly briefing to share with our community’s support information and guidance. If there are issues you would like to discuss, please contact John Gallanders, Chief Officer at AVOW by 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. https://avow.org/terms-and-conditions/