People who think they need help, or friends and family encouraged to get in touch
Volunteers pack food parcels at Town Hall
A hotline has been launched by Hammersmith & Fulham Council to support vulnerable residents through the coronavirus pandemic.
The H&F Community Action Network can be reached by calling a freephone number, 0800 145 6095 or emailing email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The hotline will be staffed seven days a week from 9am to 7pm, offering urgent food deliveries and support for those suffering from loneliness or isolation.
Residents who need urgent help - and friends, family or relatives of those who need help - are encouraged to call or email for assistance.
The launch of the Community Aid Network (CAN) follows an extraordinary public response to the call for volunteers, with more than 1,500 residents signing up to help.
The council says H&F CAN will be promoted through a huge digital campaign as well as posters and leaflets across the borough.
H&F staff will advise callers of available support, including arranging for volunteers to do food deliveries and referring them to local support groups and ward mutual aid networks, or simply arrange a 'buddy' phone call to those suffering from loneliness.
H&F Council’s Deputy Leader, Cllr Sue Fennimore, said: "This is the biggest operation in the history of H&F Council and is a remarkable example of the council and the community working hand-in-hand to support our most vulnerable residents.
“Working with the charity and voluntary sector, and the wonderful local mutual aid groups, we want everyone to know we are on their side through this national emergency. Together we are determined to support those most in need at the time of their greatest need."
H&F Shield is already giving help to the borough’s most vulnerable residents – those with certain underlying health conditions, or who are immunosuppressed (for example because they are on a course of chemotherapy).
H&F CAN volunteers were first called up over the weekend to help sort and pack food parcels, repackaging supplies provided by the government for 200 residents who are officially-designated in the NHS’s Shielding programme for those most at risk from COVID-19.
H&F Shield is part of a national NHS scheme and the NHS is directly contacting people with these conditions to provide further advice.
Volunteers all wore protective glove and where possible packages met individual dietary needs, based on information from the NHS. All the packages included medically approved guidance on how to unpack and store the contents to avoid any risk from the outside world.
The Shield packages are being prepared separately from the food parcels which H&F CAN is putting together for other less vulnerable people.
The council says it has worked with the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and taxi app Free Now to get the Shield food packages out as quickly as possible. Drivers are now coming from all over London to help.
They are briefed to deliver the package to the door, knock and then step back to a safe distance to allow the resident to answer and pick up the package. Using licensed London taxi drivers provides peace of mind for recipients as the drivers have already had official background checks.
"H&F Shield is a new emergency service for those who need the most protection from coronavirus," said Cllr Ben Coleman, H&F’s cabinet member for health and social care. "Meanwhile, H&F CAN is there to help everyone else. We’re so grateful to everyone involved in keeping our residents safe and well."
To get help from H&F Shield (for extremely vulnerable people), please call 0800 917 6994 or email email@example.com.
To get help from, or volunteer for, H&F CAN please call 0800 145 6095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Find out more about H&F Shield here.
April 2, 2020