As we enter another week of uncertainty, we find some solace in the downward turn in the number of cases and deaths across Wales. Unfortunately, we are still hearing individuals who have lost their lives to COVID-19 at Wrexham Maelor and we extend our sympathy to everyone who continues to be affected in our communities.
We extend our gratitude to all key workers who are tirelessly continuing on their work for the benefit of our society and to staff in health and care settings who are treating patients. Whilst Welsh Government works on the plan after lockdown, we will continue to abide by the social distancing guidelines to keep each other safe during this difficult time.
We can’t overestimate the necessity of volunteers in our communities. This week two individuals have volunteered to be the first humans in Europe to trial a Coronavirus vaccine. Volunteers have enabled individuals shielding or vulnerable in our community to access essential food and prescriptions, they are looking after each other’s wellbeing through telephone befriending schemes and playing a vital role in our National Health Service (NHS).
Thank you volunteers across the country for dedicating their time, skills and resources for the benefit of us all at this difficult time.
Residents across Wrexham County Borough have come out to support their community, and vulnerable individuals during the pandemic. The influence they have had on the local area is tremendous, with over 600 people signing-up with AVOW.
Many new friendships are developing within Street and Community Level support. Residents on the same street have come forward to help their neighbours, have made the effort to extend their support and possibly talked more than ever before!
When restrictions of movement are lifted we hope that people will stay in touch and continue to offer support – who knows when the next time may be- it could be very heavy snow or a medical emergency again where volunteers will be called upon again to come out and help those who are isolated or need support.
The Wrexham Bank of Volunteers runs into thousands and includes the AVOW Bank, Street Level, Health and the many organisations who have adapted to meet the needs of individuals and communities. Thank you to everyone who has come forward so far.
Personal Protection Equipment
AVOW have received a few enquiries about PPE for Volunteers and whilst there are still supply issues we encourage individuals to follow the Public Health Wales guidance. We acknowledged that some people would be less anxious performing some roles if PPE was available, but the supply still currently does not meet the demand.
AVOW will continue to monitor this situation and give further guidance as this becomes available.
AVOW have received several requests for information for residents who do not have English or Welsh as their primarily language.
AVOW have compiled a comprehensive list of resources available on our website from several sources including Easy-Read documents, 40+ languages from Doctors of the World and British Sign Language (BSL) from SignHealth, the deaf healthy charity.
Please note you can also access the information on our website in additional languages through the ‘Recite Me’ function and tailor the language, view and accessibility of these pages to suit your needs. You can find out more about Recite Me on their website.
There have been issues around people sharing their bank card with those outside of their family and the possibility of financial risk. Please read the guidance from Friends Against Scammers on common scams during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
There are a few options available to individuals who don’t wish to share their bank card with volunteers, including the volunteer voucher scheme with Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer’s or ASDA. There is also a broader e-voucher scheme operated by the Post Office.
Now is a difficult time for any business or organisation, however there are a wealth of retailers still operating during the lockdown. Many of these offer additional methods of payment and contactless delivery.
AVOW have compiled a list of local retailers still offering food delivery, including groceries, essentials, take-away and other local businesses, available through Google Maps.
This service is available to residents who have received a letter from Welsh Government advising them to ‘Shield’ themselves for twelve weeks. The food parcels are now being delivered and are intended for individuals who don’t have access to any other support in the community or from other agencies or organisations.
Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC) can now add individuals to the Portal if they have a letter from their Doctor indicating stating they qualify for the Shielding Scheme. To log someone’s requirements, the individuals will need to call WCBC on 01978 292000.
There are a large number of volunteers available at Street Level and through the AVOW Volunteer Bank to help individuals with food shopping. This facility is available to individuals who have no other form of support, through friends or family.
To access this support please contact AVOW by email COVID19@avow.org or phone us on 01978 312556.
There is an increasing number of individuals in our communities who are feeling isolated, or seeing a detrimental effect on their mental health or wellbeing. There are volunteers available through the AVOW Volunteer Bank who can offer a befriending service, and many organisations responding to this urgent need. For more information about support, please email AVOW at COVID19@avow.org or phone us on 01978 312556.
Public Health Wales have also launched their new ‘How are you doing?’ campaign to support the people of Wales to look after their wellbeing and to ensure public health is protected during the isolation period. Further information is available on their website and will be available through the AVOW social media channels.
AVOW Voluntary Services Emergency Fund (VSEF)
AVOW have launched their Voluntary Services Emergency Fund! AVOW have received an additional £25,000 to distribute to organisations across Wrexham County Borough. For further information on this fund and to apply, please visit our website.
The first batch of applications have now been granted, and we’re delighted to reveal the first successful applicants of £1,000 for the community are:
- The Vic Music Studio
- Caia Park Food Project
- Polish Integration Support Centre (PISC)
- North East Wales MIND (N.E.W.MIND)
- Nightingale House Hospice
- Community Care Collaborative (CCC)
All projects have met the criteria of providing support for COVID related issues
The first announcement of successful applications for the larger fund (up to £100,000) administered by WCVA will be publicised this week on their website.
General help on grants can be found on the AVOW website, including support for organisations during Coronavirus. For guidance on applications and available fund organisations can contact AVOW Funding Officer Nigel Davies by email email@example.com
Government Support for Businesses and Charities
The UK Government launched their Financial Support Finder last week, you can now search for support on the GOV.Uk website. Many Third Sector organisations, Social Enterprises and Community Incorporated Organisations qualify several support schemes
Updates from AVOW
Further updates from AVOW, including local initiatives, funding opportunities, and updates from regional and national organisations are available through the COVID-19 category on our website. For articles concerning AVOW’s response in particular, please visit AVOW Coronavirus Response page.
AVOW have received numerous queries around governance arrangements and compliance with Charity regulations during the Coronavirus Pandemic.
There is now further guidance available from The Charity Commission website.
Updates from Wrexham County Borough Council (WCBC)
WCBC continue to provide updates on the current situation to residents across the county. You can access their current updates and guidance through their website.
Free School Meals
There if now further guidance available for students eligible for Free School Meals through WCBC website. The new monetary payment scheme will replace the Grab-and-Go bags. Parents have until Friday 1st May to register for the scheme. The new monetary payments will begin from Monday 4th May.
Updates from Betsi Cadwaladr University Healthy Board (BCUHB)
Wrexham 3D Printed PPE (HWB Wrecsam)
Thanks to the generosity of our community, AVOW and Hwb Wrecsam have raised £16,500+ for the 3D printing hub. Everyone involved in the project is very grateful for the donations, from individuals, businesses, organisations and community groups across Wrexham County Borough.
Thanks to the donations the operation is now equipped with printers and materials to produce 1000’s or visors for the area.
After the pandemic these resources will be distributed to local secondary schools, for the benefit of students across the county.
Personal Protective Equipment Clothing
Can you help by making ‘Scrubs’ for key workers?
Awyr Las / Blue Sky, the BCUHB Charity have issued a call-out to the sewing community of North Wales. Please view the details and specifications in the attached document (PDF).
There has been a fantastic response from the craft community so far, and groups on Facebook to share patterns, hints and tips and support each other through these shortages.
Updates from Public Health Wales (PHW)
Information in one place
Public Health Wales have launched a new interactive portal for the latest information on COVID-19.
Dashboard – Desktop view available on their website.
Dashboard – Mobile friendly view available on their website.
Updates from Welsh Government
Welsh Government advice for Voluntary Organisations is available on their website.
Guidance on movement
This week we have received several changes to the regulations restricting movement across Wales. Further information is available on their website.
The new regulations ask everyone to question why they are going out, with the key priority is to protect yourself and those you meet.
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.
- Swansea University have a call-out for a ‘Coronadiary’ study, further information is available on their website. Dr Michael Ward said is eager to include social media post, blogs, videos [or] any method that people are using to express themselves during lockdown.
- Health and Care Research Wales have a list of available research projects regarding COVID-19 on their website.
Stay Home, Save Lives
AVOW hopes to keep this as a weekly briefing to share with our community’s support information and guidance- if there are 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.