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Food supplies for vulnerable starting to arrive in Essex

Supplies are being kept in three distribution hubs across the county Credit: Essex County Council

Essex County Council is starting to collect food supplies to be sent out to the vulnerable in the county.

Supplies are being collected at three points across the county and will be packed up to be sent to people who are shielding or isolating and don't have family or friends to help them.

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Essex County Council is supporting the national effort to get food and supplies to the County’s most vulnerable residents.

The Essex Resilience Forum (ERF) made up of all the county public sector organisations, is tasked with ensuring that people with the most serious health conditions across – Essex, Southend and Thurrock - are shielded from social contact for 12 weeks during the peak of the epidemic. These people have been contacted already by the NHS and offered food package deliveries.

A distribution hub has been set up by Essex County Council in Witham in central Essex, with 2 other hubs set up by Southend and Thurrock Councils. From this weekend, food deliveries to hubs will supplies will begin to be dispatched to the most vulnerable residents.

The way Essex has rallied around the vulnerable across the County has been incredible and I would like to thank each and every person who is helping friends, neighbours and relatives stay home and stay safe. You are literally saving lives across our great County because you are protecting our NHS.

“Now Councils, the NHS and all our public and voluntary sector partners are stepping up to try and make sure no-one who needs help is missed out. It has been a huge effort, involving round-the-clock work. I am very proud of what is being put into place to shield our most vulnerable residents.”

– Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council

Given the importance of social distancing and the most at risk being able to stay in their homes, ERF members and the voluntary sector are also mobilising resources across the county to provide assistance to a larger group. These are residents who are also vulnerable during the peak of the epidemic, and include residents over the age of 70 or pregnant women, and who do not have the support of friends, family or neighbours.

These residents will be contacted by the NHS or their GP surgeries, starting from next week (w/c Monday 30th March).

The message will set out the instructions for those people who do not have the support of friends, families and neighbours to register with the Essex Welfare Service (EWS), part of PROVIDE (a health and social care provider), should they need food deliveries.

They will be able to contact the EWS via website and by phone. Contact details are below.

We recognise not all of residents identified will need support, and many will have organised their own arrangements already. However, Community Shield’s aim is to ensure that no-one slips through the net. If you need support and have not received a message, please contact the EWS directly.

Councils across the county are working with Supermarkets, delivery companies and other organisations on developing supply lines to people.

District Councils will also use their local hubs, which have been established in every district/borough/city council area, and using volunteer support.

We recognise not all of residents identified will need support, and many will have organised their own arrangements already. However, Community Shield’s aim is to ensure that no-one slips through the net. If you need support and have not received a message, please contact the EWS directly.

Councils across the county are working with Supermarkets, delivery companies and other organisations on developing supply lines to people.

In Rochford District, a local community hub has been set up in Rayleigh, supported by faith groups, community groups and volunteers. Volunteers will operate a helpline number for all residents to call if they are in need of help or support. The helpline will go live on Wednesday 1st April.

The central hub will be supported by local “cells” in Hullbridge, Hawkwell, Hockley, Great Wakering and Rochford and is being supported by volunteers and elected members of the council who will ensure that the needs of those most vulnerable residents are met.

A flyer with all the relevant information will be distributed to households across the district. This will have details of the helpline number and the opening hours, which will be subject to the number of volunteers.

Updates will be posted on the Essex County Council (ECC) website www.essex.gov.uk/coronavirus and via Essex County Council and Rochford District Council’s social media channels.

You can sign up to volunteer in your local area at: www.facebook.com/essexcoronavirusaction

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