Cumbria County Council’s Emergency Support Helpline has been helping the county’s residents seeking support, guidance and information since it was launched in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
So, far the support helpline has reached more than 27,000 people and has been receiving requests for support from vulnerable and isolated people who are not able to rely on family, friends or neighbours and may be struggling for essential supplies.
The most common requests are for medication and prescription collections, food supplies and from family members who are isolating or shielding themselves and who would normally provide care to relatives.
The support line, which is staffed by council officers and volunteers, also offers advice and guidance on PPE requirements, as well as NHS Test and Trace and there are now almost 3,000 organisations linked through the local system.
The helpline can also offer access to the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme to help those who have been affected financially due to Covid-19 with a one-off payment and have issued over 250 grants so far.
Cumbria County Council’s ‘Ways to Welfare’ scheme has also been incorporated as part of the support line, supporting and referring people with a variety of concerns, including a significant increase in those struggling with mental health and domestic violence issues.
They also help with energy and food costs and giving people access to furniture and white goods and so far has made over 1,200 Ways to Welfare payments.
Commenting, Cumbria County Council's Cabinet Member for Public Health and Community Services, Councillor Deborah Earl said: “Our Emergency Support Helpline continues to offer a lifeline to vulnerable people who are at high risk of becoming seriously ill as a result of Covid-19 and who do not have support available from friends, family or neighbours.
“If people have no alternative support, they should contact the helpline to request help getting food, medicines, essential supplies and home deliveries.
“We are continuing to work alongside local businesses, community groups, volunteers and redeployed employees to support vulnerable people in our local communities, particularly those in the shielding group.
“I am pleased that this support line has been able to help so many people, from providing information and guidance on shielding, to delivering medicines and helping with food shopping, as well as the financial support provided to those struggling as a result of the pandemic.
“My sincere thanks to all of the people involved behind the scenes, this has been a partnership effort and I am grateful to all of the council staff, local businesses and volunteers that have helped make the support line possible.”
People can contact the helpline seven days a week and in a variety of ways, including via telephone, online or by email and it also accepts referrals from members of the public who may be concerned about people in their community.