Highlights from the Hubs: 22nd June

Tuesday 23 June marks the 100th day since the launch of the countywide coordination hub! It’s a significant milestone worth noting – none of which could have happened without the support of the whole partnership across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough District and City councils, other public sector bodies, voluntary, community and faith sector organisations, parish and town councils, and volunteers.

The 100th day milestone though is also an opportunity to reflect on the challenging times our shielded and vulnerable residents, and our communities, have faced during the pandemic. Our hubs have been privileged to be able to help and support many of them during our 100 days so far, and we all regularly receive such fantastic feedback, some of which is included in this edition. But we do also recognise, every day, just how challenging this.

As I write, we’re awaiting an announcement from the Government about the future of the Shielding programme, and we’re poised to continue to provide the support and assistance our residents need based on that announcement, whatever it is.

Please, stay safe and well!

Fish and Chip Fridays are back for one shielded resident

People who have been shielding during the pandemic have faced the most restraints on their regular lives. Many of them have been missing out on regular hobbies, outings or treats that they used to look forward to each week.

But thanks to the Coordination Hub, some shielded residents have been able to enjoy their weekly treats again.

Mrs G, an elderly shielded resident, was scheduled to receive a fortnightly call from her case officer to ensure that she was coping/managing.

During the most recent call, Mrs G mentioned to her case officer that she required some assistance from the hub with a home maintenance issue. She also happened to mention that prior to being shielded, she would look forward to fish and chips from her local chip shop on a Friday, however she is no longer able to enjoy this as she is not able to leave her home.

A hub co-ordinator contacted Mrs G and, with her permission, was able to refer her home maintenance concerns to Age UK’s Handyperson scheme: a service capable of undertaking basic DIY for elderly or disabled people in their own home, so they can remain safe and independent.

Although recognised as not being an urgent issue, the hub co-ordinator also made contact with Mrs G’s local Community Response Service (a service operated by the Countywide Hub, that consists of place-based co-ordinators offering more localised support for residents), who advised that they would be able to arrange collection and delivery of a fish supper to Mrs G – with a view to this being something that could continue on a regular basis.

It goes without saying that Mrs G was delighted!

Find out more about NHS Test and Trace

A guide to NHS Test and Trace has been produced so that residents understand the programme and what they need to do as part of it.You can read the guide here.The more people that use NHS Test and Trace correctly, the more effective it will be at stopping the spread of the virus, the safer it will be for people and the quicker the lockdown measures can be lifted.Translations are also being organised so that people who speak and read different languages can understand the Test and Test programme, how they can access help and support via the hub network and what steps they can take to limit the spread of the virus. These will be available at www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk and www.peterborough.gov.uk soon.The network of COVID-19 coordination hubs will perform a crucial and wider role in supporting people who need to isolate and don’t have support from elsewhere.As Test and Trace becomes more established it will lead to a reduction in the lockdown measures for all, but it will mean that individuals and their households will need to isolate if they have symptoms, or individuals who have come into contact with someone who has tested positive.People in that situation, who don’t have a network of family, friends or neighbours, will be able to access support from the network of district and city hubs.People who need help whilst isolating should visit www.peterborough.gov.uk/coronavirus or www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/coronavirus or call 0345 045 5219.

Support for people with sensory impairment

Support for people with sensory impairment will be picked up by the Countywide Hub from next week.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s sensory team has been supporting 100 people since the start of the pandemic, but this will now be picked up by the hub.

At the start of the pandemic, the sensory team put together a list of vulnerable residents with sensory impairment who may have required extra support during the crisis.

Using this list, the team has been making weekly calls to offer advice and support. So far, the service provided by the sensory team has been extremely successful with the number of people requiring support reducing from 400 to 100 since the beginning of the crisis.

Moving forward, the hub will continue to support those that have been identified as requiring support, the majority of which are people that are still isolating and could benefit from the befriending services the hub can provide. These support services will also include regular calls to ensure that immediate needs are being met.

By taking on this service the hub can ensure that those with sensory impairment and struggling can continue to receive the support they need. Meanwhile, the sensory team can continue to support those who are no longer needing to isolate with any struggles that may occur as we begin to transition into the Covid-19 recovery phase.

Spotlight on our partners: Pav

Graeme Tolliday (known as Pav) is chairman and trustee of Bedfordshire & Cambridgeshire 4×4 Response – a fairly new charity formed in 2017. He is also an ambulance officer and paramedic with the East of England Ambulance Service, where he has served for 29 years. The 4×4 charity is helping the hub with the distribution of PPE across the county.”My love of 4x4s and motorsport fit in well with the charity and our various activities across the two counties.”All of our members are volunteers and are giving their time around their own jobs during the Covid-19 crisis. We currently have 55 volunteers with a vast array of professions, from computer experts to post office managers and highway staff to coach owners. Our age range starts in the 20s and goes up to the 80s, but every single member has the same goals and intentions to help people.”The Covid-19 crisis has pushed the team into a new direction, and our volunteers are now transporting PPE around Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the surrounding areas, from the Countywide Hub.”Both the volunteers from the 4×4 response team and Team Rubicon have developed a really solid and professional working relationship with all the staff on the site. PPE is being packed and dispatched usually within 24 hours of requests.”With everybody understanding and respecting each other’s role, this relationship has developed incredibly well during the crisis and has demonstrated how amazing all of our volunteers are. Working alongside army colleagues has given another dimension to this provision and proved team work is the best. We supply between two and five vehicles a day depending on requests.”The PPE hub, led by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, and the food hub, which is managed by the British Red Cross, have demonstrated how effective, professional and committed the volunteers are, this could not have been achieved without them.”I feel very privileged to have been involved in this amazing collaboration across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and have met many amazing people who give up their time for one purpose.”To ensure our population are as protected as possible and that those in need get the help they require. The Countywide Co-ordination Hub is certainly a team that delivers.”

Resident grateful for the support of her neighbours

Every week, the Countywide Hub hears heart-warming stories from people it is supporting of ways they have been helped, either by the hub or someone in the community.

People like Carole, who lives alone in Huntingdonshire and was struggling to access food and prescriptions when her next-door neighbour passed away.  

Carole was struggling and had a food parcel delivered every other week by the hub, even though she didn’t want to be a burden or in her words ‘take it away from someone else in need’.  

When the second Red Cross parcel arrived a neighbour from across the street noticed and put a note through Carole’s door and offered her support. The neighbour is now doing weekly shopping and picking up prescriptions as required.

Carole has told us that her cupboards have never been so stocked up and she actually cried through happiness when she opened them one morning. She is so grateful of our support and can’t thank me enough for helping her out in her time of need.

An example of the support being provided to residents

A number of redeployed council staff who have been supporting shielded residents as part of their role with the Countywide Hub are now returning to their substantive posts.

One of those people is Katie Ellis, an assistant traffic signal engineer for Cambridgeshire County Council and one of the 142 officers who have been supporting residents who are shielding for the past 12 weeks.

Katie’s role has involved her keeping regular contact with a group of 60 residents, providing support to get food, medicines and other help to them whilst they remain at home.

Upon hearing that Katie was leaving the hub, one resident got in touch to say how well supported that had been and how much they will miss her.

The resident said: “I wanted to write an email to thank you for all of your kind effort and relentless help. For joining all the different departments together to form a circle of security and reassurance. Throughout the last couple of months you have been my go to rock. “I honestly don’t know how at times I could have got by without you. Your positive attitude, organisation. It really helped me to get through what I can only say has been, and still is, the most challenging time on my own.

 “Thank you so much for all your hard work and for the care and attention you have had for myself. When we could not get a nurse and you reassured me we would. When my prescription went missing and you rescued the situation. When all my family were ill and I was so alone. You were there.” Katie said: “It has been a pleasure working in this role for the past ten weeks. I have felt a real sense of achievement in helping people in this challenging time. I am overwhelmed that I have made such a difference to this resident’s life. To have such positive comments back is greatly appreciated.”

Elaine Matthews, one of managers for the Countywide Hub, said: “It is so lovely to hear of the positive impact Katie’s regular calls have had during this difficult time, well done Katie.  We will continue to take great care to support all our residents who are still shielding by making sure they have access to food and medication so they can stay at home.

“In reality, as Katie and our other officers are demonstrating, our regular calls provide much more than that.  This has shown that a regular friendly call to discuss what is important, provide reassurance and help where needed really makes a huge difference.”

Arty friends spread cheer to Elton resident

A lady who is shielding and being supported by the Countywide Hub got in touch this week to show us this lovely work of art that had been created for her at the end of her garden.The masterpiece was created by some of her friends to cheer her up whilst in lockdown.From what the lady told us, it certainly did the trick!

Elton art