Special ‘virtual’ hubs are helping to deliver food and support to some of Middlesbrough’s most vulnerable residents during the Coronavirus crisis.
The Shielding and Community Hubs are gearing up to help up to 1,000 people a week across Middlesbrough throughout the pandemic.
The move follows the Government’s escalation of efforts to slow the spread of the disease, to ease pressure on the NHS and save lives.
People across the UK are being urged to stay at home, and avoid gatherings and any unnecessary travel, while only essential shops and services remain open.
The Shielding Hub will support those identified as particularly vulnerable to the virus by the NHS, who are not yet being supported by the national arrangements being put in place by the Government.
Support includes delivering food to those on the NHS list until national arrangements take over, as well as support with social isolation for as long as is required.
The Community Hub is offering support to those not on the NHS list, but whose health and wellbeing are at a significantly higher risk than the general population.
A leaflet drop to every home in the borough raised awareness of the Help Boro initiative, with those in need of help encouraged to get in touch.
Food, medicines and other support will be provided where people are unable to access normal supplies and services.
In their first week, the hubs have fielded more than 700 calls, with nearly 300 food packages delivered to those in need.
More than 30 prescriptions have been collected, and processes are in place to help with utilities.
The hubs are being staffed by Council officers, while partners from the private sector – including local restaurants – have stepped in to help with food supplies, with up to 100 deliveries taking place every day.
Middlesbrough mayor Andy Preston said: “This is what the Council – and our amazing partners across Middlesbrough – is all about.
“Lots of people, through no fault of their own, have been left in need of all sorts of support because of this pandemic which has turned normal life as we know it upside down.
“The Shielding and Community Hubs are there to give them the support they need, while following guidelines that will help to halt this deadly disease and save lives.
“We’re doing our best to get to everyone who needs us, but if you need help, or know someone else who does, we want to hear from you.”
• For information on local help and support, visit Help Boro at www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/helpboro or call Middlesbrough Council’s support line 01642 729777.
For the latest local updates and information, visit www.middlesbrough.gov.uk/covid19.
The latest advice from Government and Public Health England can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.