AVOW would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year and hope that you, your families, and colleagues have managed to remain safe and virus free.
When COVID-19 first hit the UK in February and March none of us envisaged that 10 months later we would still be fighting a mutated virus. We can look back on 2020 and think never again do we want a year like that but we are starting 2021 with an increasing prevalence and positivity rate within our communities but with a reliance that the new vaccine programme will make significant changes.
As we move into 2021, we should pause and think of all those families who have lost loved ones during the pandemic period and the difficult ‘festive’ period they will have endured without their relatives or friends. It is such a hard time for all concerned.
Support over Christmas and New Year
There has been a fantastic effort over the festive period with a number of schemes operating providing food, meals, clothes, and toys. A big thank you to all involved in these organisations that supported many hundreds of people and all of the individuals who generously donated so many items. A special thanks to all of the supermarkets and suppliers for contributing such a volume of goods.
Moving forward, we need to acknowledge that food is often one element in a range of support that individuals and families may need to help them overcome their social or health issues. It is important that everyone concerned with any kind of community support scheme adheres rigidly to the guidance on social distancing, face covings, etc., and also appreciate that we do have travel restrictions in place. Whilst the spread within so many communities is high, we need to consider the best ways to provide assistance in a safe way for volunteers and the beneficiaries, this would include wearing PPE where necessary. Risk assessments should be undertaken for all activities and take into account each touchpoint that takes place.
Food and Community Support
After speaking with a number of organisations it is clear there is a need to identify a number of support routes that people can be signposted to and get a broad range of help to meet their needs. A Food and Community Support meeting, hosted by AVOW, will take place via Zoom on Monday 18th January 2021 from 11 am until 12:30 pm. This meeting will benefit any organisation or individual that is involved with community support e.g. particular food parcel providers, meal distribution, etc. You can join the meeting on the day via Zoom.
There are lots of concerns expressed about the lack of information/misinformation regarding the vaccine rollout in the region. In particular, the lack of details when someone will receive an appointment. It is important for everyone to realize that whilst there is a situation of the demand being in excess of the supply which will result in appointments for individuals. The guidance on the eligibility of each tier can be found on the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) website.
There is a mass vaccination centre in Deeside, Llandudno, and Bangor. Care home staff and other health/social care are receiving their jabs in additional locations. This week has seen the start of vaccines at a few of the GP surgeries in Wrexham County Borough, with a larger rollout in the coming two weeks as the supplies start to increase.
Additional larger community facilities are due to open around the 18th January in Glyndwr University and Splash Leisure Centre in Plas Madoc.
Information for individuals can be found on the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board (BCUHB) website.
Information for Health and Social Care staff can be found on the Public Health Wales (PHW) website.
The important message is that people will be contacted either by letter or from their GP when it is their turn for an appointment – DO NOT contact your GP or Council.
Prior to Christmas additional advice for those who had been Shielding was distributed. Those in this bracket will have received a letter from the Chief Medical Officer advising them to restrict their movement as much as they can – it does not state that people are not able to go to shops or chemists just that these visits should be minimised. There are also no food parcels for those in this category on this occasion.
If there is anyone who is Shielding and finds they have difficulties accessing shops and medication etc then contact the AVOW Covid Helpdesk by email Covid19@avow.org or tel 01978 312556
TTP notified Isolation
As the number of cases is increasing in the area so too is the number of people who have been contacted to isolate. It is crucial that if anyone is contacted by TTP that they adhere to the guidance being provided for your own safety and those others you may come into contact with.
SCAM: ALERT that no one from TTP will be asking any questions about Bank Accounts as part of any ID checks.
Wrexham County Borough Council have introduced a twice a week update briefing which is available on their website. Information will be shared around current infection rates in the area and any latest guidance from Welsh Government and Public Health.
Current Wrexham Position
Wrexham has now become the top area in Wales for positive cases per 100,000. There will undoubtedly be a wide variety of reasons why this is the case, but the fundamental response is the same – Stay at Home, do not travel unless essential, social distancing, and wearing a face covering. Everyone has a part to play in keeping themselves safe and preventing others around them from becoming infected.
There are many harrowing stories that are coming from our hospitals and care homes with staff now on their knees from the constant pressure of being on the front-line. Most people cannot fully comprehend what the staff is going through.
The evidence being gathered is still indicating that community and home-based transmission is still the highest reflecting that many people are still not adhering to the guidance. The new strain of the virus is clearly spreading at an alarming rate across many of our communities with 11 now in the red zone when we have only been having 2 or 3 for the past few weeks. A number of those not in the red zone are also showing rates in excess of 600.
There has also been a tragic situation this week with a number of deaths within one of our local care homes. Despite having stringent controls in place, it reflects how quickly the virus can spread within a closed community.
The pressure in the Wrexham Maelor hospital is increasing both with the number of admissions from the community and also with hospital-acquired infections. People are being urged not to go to the hospital unless it is an emergency, and no other option is open to someone. The 999 response is still operating in the region but should only be used for ‘real life-threatening’ emergencies.
It has been a very hard time for community buildings that rely on income from various activities with the stop and start over the past 9 months. There are still a few activities that can be taking place but the list changes quite often and therefore important that the Welsh Government guidance is followed. Any community activity runs a risk when there is engagement and therefore it is important to remember any activity has to fall into the ‘essential’ category only.
Mental Health Support
The current pandemic is having a major issue on the mental health of a wide range of people and the lack of personal contacts during lockdown has highlighted the issues. It is important that everyone try and maintain contact – phone calls or video are crucial to avoid people feeling isolated.
There are a number of support organisations that are operating by providing an anonymous space for people who are seeking help. For more information about these services please contact the AVOW COVID Support team by email COVID@Avow.org or tel: 01978 312556.
There are various Welsh Government business grants that Community Organisations are able to access and information is available via Wrexham County Borough Council and AVOW.
Further information about the Restrictions Business Fund with Wrexham County Borough Council can be found on their website.
To discuss funding options with AVOW, please contact our Funding Officer Nigel Davies by email: Nigel.Davies@Avow.org
Comic Relief Funding
There is only a very small amount of funding left in the Comic Relief Fund. If you are interested in applying please do so in the next 10 days.
If you are seeking funds you can contact Nigel.Davies@avow.org
AVOW has received a £26,000 share of the funding from the Comic Relief A Big Night In. The fund was launched on the 13th July 2020 and the full application is available on our website.
Potential New Funding for Local Community Organisations
AVOW is currently exploring the development of a Wrexham County-wide Community Lottery which will enable organisations of various sizes to gain funds with very little administration and also create a central community grant fund scheme that AVOW will administer.
The Lottery will have a top prize of £25,000 in the weekly draw. This will be a Lottery aimed directly at raising funds for local organisations. This is in the development stage and any organisation interested in gaining funds from the scheme are invited to a meeting on Thursday 11th February at 1.00pm. Interested organisations can join us on Zoom.
AVOW hopes to keep this as a fortnightly 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. https://avow.org/terms-and-conditions