Covid couldn’t stop our commitment to supporting vulnerable people
The Covid-19 pandemic has posed many challenges and impacted services, but close partnership working has meant that as many vulnerable adults in Gloucestershire as possible, have still had the support they need.
In March when the lockdown began, organisations, businesses, communities and individuals joined forces to help others, and many key workers across the county worked around the clock to make sure people weren’t left vulnerable or alone.
Reflecting on the response, a report by the county council’s executive director of adult social care, Margaret Willcox, praised the partnership working for keeping Gloucestershire ‘one step ahead of the curve’ in managing the pandemic.
The report said that the collaboration of partnership boards had been ‘a tremendously positive experience’ and significant learning would shape the way services are developed in the future.
The response included, the community help hub, which was set up immediately at the start of the outbreak to connect local people who needed help with others who could provide support – the hub has answered more than 4,300 requests for help since its launch.
In addition to the help hub, many council services continued to support vulnerable adults, including those with disabilities and mental health conditions. Those with support from social care services continued to receive home visits, 30 more care workers were recruited through the Proud to Care fast track recruitment scheme and additional services were set up to support people who were struggling with their mental health.
The county council also worked closely with partners including district councils, Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, police, NHS, the military and others through the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) Strategic Coordinating Group to ensure these invaluable extra measures could be taken to help communities and those most vulnerable across the county, including:
- Delivering Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the care sector - more than two million items of PPE have been delivered across Gloucestershire
- Cutting hospital discharge times to free up more beds – the NHS and the county council worked together to make sure that patients discharged from hospital had their care needs met in the community
- Extra funding for community transport operators – six community transport operators were given a one-off payment of £100,000 to ensure rural and isolated residents were provided with transport access to essential services. In addition, concessionary travel restrictions were removed so were valid all day long, allowing people to access services
- Providing accommodation and support to homeless people – councils have been working closely together so that all rough sleepers and those at risk of homelessness were offered a place to stay
- Extensive support for care homes and other care settings to minimise the spread of Covid-19 including ensuring they have adequate stock levels of PPE and training on how to use it, as well as increasing testing capacity
- Giving support to unpaid carers across the county through the Gloucestershire Carers Hub
Cllr Kathy Williams, cabinet member for adult social care delivery, said: “The way that we have all pulled together to provide the support needed during the pandemic has really been amazing. I would like to thank our partners and all of the businesses, communities and individuals that have helped provide support to someone in need during the pandemic. Although it’s not over, Gloucestershire, you have done us proud!”
Cllr Carole Allaway-Martin, cabinet member for adult social care commissioning, said: “I am truly astonished at the support everyone has provided during this pandemic. We are extremely grateful to everyone who has helped keep Gloucestershire going. Our close partnership working has provided reassurance to our communities at a time when they’ve needed it most. We will continue working closely together to ensure everyone continues to get the help and support they need.”
If you would like to say thank you to someone in the community who has helped you, then why not take part in Gloucestershire Day on 21 September? ‘Gloucestershire Day’ will be an opportunity to celebrate the spirit and strength of our communities and to nominate someone who lives or works in the county who has helped you during the crisis.
To nominate someone:
- Send us a photo of the person (with their permission) and say how they have helped you. Please include your name and the area where you live.
- To do this, you can either send us a direct message on social media using the hashtags #thisis and #gloscommunity or email the photo and a line of text to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll do the rest. Please include ‘Glosday nomination’ in the subject line.