Community Support Response to Coronavirus – Wrexham County Borough
As we reach the end of our first month in a UK-wide lockdown, we reflect on the way our society has changed. Issues and terms that we couldn’t have imagined 6 months ago is now part of our daily vocabulary. Phrases such as ‘Lockdown’, ‘PPE’, ‘Social Distancing’, ‘Zoom’ and ‘Virtual Pub’ have taken hold in our communities.
Many people are showing signs of anxiety as we head into at least another three weeks of restrictive movement, with social implications beyond that. Case numbers had remained relatively low for Wrexham and North Wales. However, over the weekend we have seen these numbers almost doubled in some counties. There is a Heat Map available through the Daily Post, which highlights the importance of remaining vigilant and aware of the situation. In Wrexham specifically, the numbers have doubled in a week, from 47 to 90 per 100,000 people. This week will provide to be a particularly challenging time across Wales.
The AVOW bank of volunteers is now standing at over 600! A fantastic showcase of generosity in our community. All volunteers should have been contacted explaining the demand at this stage is not as high as expected, as we continue to manage the support needed in the area.
Low demand does not reflect low volunteer engagement, as 100’s of Street Level volunteers continue to work tirelessly in their local communities.
If you are interested in volunteering through AVOW, you can find out more about volunteering on our website, or if you would like to give your time in your local community please read our Open Call to All.
Betsi Cadwaladr University Healthy Board charity Awyr Las / Blue Sky has 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.
Mental Health Support
As the Lockdown continues, the effect on our collective mental health is beginning to take it toll.
There are organisations available to support individuals experiencing mental health issues. There will be a list on the AVOW website this week, but in the meantime please take time to read guidance from N.E.W. M.I.N.D’s website.
C.A.L.L is a Wrexham based helpline service available for people who are experiencing Mental Health problems, they are available at 0800 132737 or further information on the C.A.L.L. website.
There has been concern about paying for shopping with non-family members. A modified scheme established by the Post Office has now been extended to other banks. The scheme enables individuals to ask for a one-time barcode sent via text, email or post for the stipulated amount.
They can give a trusted friend or volunteer the voucher to be exchanged for the cash requested.
Previously, only a named individual, such as a carer, could collect cash on someone’s behalf. However, now a trusted neighbour or volunteer can provide this service. Further information is available through the Post Office website. There is also more information through the BBC website.
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 please do not contact Wrexham County Borough Council as they can not add anyone to the list – they should contact their GP directly.
Free School Meals
Good news this week as Welsh Government announce a Cash Payment scheme directly to parents. This new scheme will replace the Grab-and-Go Bag system Wrexham County Council set-up temporarily.
It appears that the parents of children who are eligible for Free School Meals will benefit from additional funds to shop for themselves. The system is still being set-up by the Welsh Government and will be implemented on a county-by-county basis.
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.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Wrexham Hub 3D printing PPE
A huge £13,000 has been raised for the Wrexham Hub!
A big thank you to everyone who has donated to our fundraiser for the Wrexham Hub for 3D printing PPE. The Schools, Volunteers and Councillors have been working extremely hard, 24 hours a day to create the PPE visors for our health and social care staff.
The funds raised have gone towards materials and machines to increase production.
There is considerable stress around the shortage of PPE across the Health and Social Care Sector. To find out more information about PPE enquiries in North Wales please visit the Awyr Las website.
Hidden PPE Wrexham
Operation Hidden Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is an initiative across Wrexham County Borough to identify and source any additional PPE in a variety of settings. The equipment will be sourced at a central location in order to help support the Health and Social Care Sector during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Grants and Funding
Local Grant Scheme
The first AVOW Voluntary Services Emergency Fund has been distributed to Vic Studios! This funding will allow the organisations to continue their work in the community with disengaged or disadvantaged young people, building on their skills and enabling them to express themselves creatively.
Applications are still open for not-for-profit organisations across Wrexham County Borough. Organisations in the county can apply for up-to £1,000 to continue essential services at a Street or Community level.
For more information about the grant please visit our website.
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
Guidance about the Coronavirus Pandemic
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 ultimately, 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 the 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. AVOW are continually updating the list on our website . For direct advice please contact us by email email@example.com or phone 01978 312556.
Voluntary groups who have employees are entitled to claim from the Government if they furlough any staff due to insufficient funds. Groups using the AVOW payroll service will be supported through the claims process.
The Government Job Retention programmes and Welsh Government Business Support packages are also available for community organisations.
For job retention please visit the Gov.Uk website.
For business support packages in Wales please visit the Business Wales website.
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.
Further research around COVID-19
There are many research projects trying to tackle the Coronavirus Pandemic, to track and collate our experiences of this pandemic in order to learn from the situation.
The success of these consultations will depend on participants, you can help researchers now, to help us in the future.
AVOW will continue to promote consultations as they come in, please keep an eye on our website.
Current consultations include:
- COVID-19 and Lifestyle – find out more on the BBC website
- A Trace and Track app has been launched by the Welsh Government and NHS Wales.
- ROSA are looking for women’s groups to take part in their consultation.
This week we would like to extend our condolences to the friends and family of Andy Treble who was an extremely devoted and well-liked health professional at Wrexham Maelor Hospital.
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 email@example.com
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.