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Councils to create neighbourhood teams for vulnerable

Released: Friday, 27 March 2020

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An unprecedented effort to co-ordinate help for the vulnerable during the coronavirus crisis is to be launched by Adur & Worthing Councils.

Working with other authorities, including West Sussex County Council, the NHS and the voluntary sector the Councils are to create a network of support groups across Adur and Worthing.

These will help with practical tasks such as help with food such as delivering parcels, help to access health care as well as giving guidance on financial assistance or just to make contact.

A survey of the population through an online form in district and borough is about to get underway which will ask a series of key questions with the aim of:

Vulnerable residents will be invited to fill in an online questionnaire or ring a telephone hotline and answer some basic questions about their situation.

This week around 1.5 million extremely vulnerable people (which the government is calling the shielded) across the UK received letters from the NHS informing them of their status. They will be contacted directly by the government and West Sussex County Council to ascertain their needs. People who have not received a letter and but consider themselves extremely vulnerable should still register on the GOV.UK website.

However many others falling just outside this group may also have needs during the crisis and Adur & Worthing Councils are setting up neighbourhood groups across the community to coordinate support. Councils believe vulnerable people may be residents who are over 70, those living alone or caring for someone, those suffering acute isolation, financial hardship or are at risk of imminent homelessness or domestic violence.

Within these groups the support will be focused most on those people who are living on their own and who are self-isolating at home, without support networks of friends and family. Councils anticipate many needs will be around basic groceries and access to medicines.

In a joint statement the leader of Adur District Council, Cllr Neil Parkin, and the leader of Worthing Borough Council, Cllr Daniel Humphreys, said:

“Many extremely vulnerable people will have been directly contacted by letter telling them of the help that is available but there are many others who we need to talk to to find out the extent of the help they need.”

“By asking people to contact us and answer some simple questions we can begin to prioritise need and then by setting up these neighbourhood help structures we can begin to get support to them.”

“It is right and proper that our Councils lead the way on this but we will be working with voluntary groups and we will be asking for others to volunteer to help out efforts.”

They added that they were extremely grateful for members of the community who are already out helping.

Councils will appoint neighbourhood team leaders and ask for help from the voluntary sector and many of those groups that have arisen during the virus crisis so that a co-ordinated programme of help can be delivered backed by comprehensive information from the online and telephone surveys on who has the most need.

Anyone who feels they may be in a vulnerable or who has a relative in such a position who is unable to help themselves can contact Adur & Worthing Councils in the following ways:

or by calling 01903 221222 for support to register for help

After the answers are assessed those deemed in need of urgent support will be contacted by either by the neighbourhood team or by telephone.

(PR20-026)

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