New plans are being made to help protect vulnerable people in South Tyneside in case the area goes into lockdown again.
The local council set up a COVID-19 Support Hub after the Government’s announced that around 2.2million people should be ‘shielded’ from the virus because underlying health issues put them at higher risk of infection.
This has seen the authority work with the voluntary sector partners to aid people who were on vulnerable and/or on their own without any other help.
National shielding ended in England on Saturday and new arrangements have been made for anyone who still needs help.
Plans are also being made in case there is a local - or new national – lockdown.
Throughout the crisis we have worked closely with our partners to make sure no vulnerable person has been left behind. Our shielding hub has reached out to thousands of residents, making more than 5,000 deliveries of food and medicine as well as carrying out wellbeing checks.
Ms Dixon, who is also the authority's lead member for independence and wellbeing, added that she understood many people leaving lockdown would be "anxious" about life but said measures would be in place to help support the vulnerable.
“We are also putting measures in place to reinstate support for shielding residents in the event of another national lockdown, or if restrictions are imposed locally. It is vitally important that our most vulnerable residents who may need to shield or self-isolate again, and don’t have any other means of help, are once again supported during times of crisis.”
The council redeployed more than 150 staff from its library and leisure services divisions - where most activities stopped - during lockdown to provide support.
They received more than 21,400 requests for support and delivered more than 5,000 food parcels as well as about 885 packages of medication.
Their work was praised by Ms Dixon, who said the authority had received excellent feedback on their work.
Our employees have been outstanding in very challenging circumstances. For many it has been a real cultural change, but they have certainly risen to the challenge. They, along with our voluntary sector partners, have worked tirelessly to help keep people safe, support our communities and ensure our vulnerable residents have been protected from the virus.
Future support will be available for those who need to self-isolate or shield again and have no other means of support to get basic supplies.
The South Tyneside Covid-19 Support Hub helpline number will remain 0191 424 7575 will remain unchanged. For more information visit www.southtyneside.gov.uk/coronavirus.