We were pleased to receive an update from CAD CEO Simon Aulton on the work of Community Action Dacorum:
The sector continues to support Operation Shield and are preparing volunteers for use by the Borough and the County when they are needed. The Volunteer Centre have been working to prepare volunteers to support this work and the network of charities in the Borough has been able to identify issues where people have needed food but are falling outside of the known need. Because of this work through SouthHill and CAD, the Operation Shield team were able to quickly deploy food to a hostel in Hemel Hempstead to resolve the issues.
We have also mapped referral pathways in Dacorum and sent this to HertsHelp to help them support Dacorum residents directly and quickly using local services where possible.
The Volunteer Centre is working with colleagues around the county to ensure that people who offer to support are vetted and allocated volunteering opportunities promptly and safely. Dacorum has had 619 volunteers through the #TeamHerts_Volunteering initiative in the past two weeks. Of these around half are shown as allocated and the others are being processed. As a county wide picture, around 13½% of volunteers are offering their services in Dacorum.
We are committed to supporting Borough and County initiatives when they call for volunteers and are building a pool of people, who are being trained ready to offer support with befriending, shopping and other practical support to vulnerable Dacorum residents.
One example has been a call from hospitals where they have encountered difficulties with getting patients out of hospital because there is a temporary need for someone to physically move furniture. Through the volunteers we have, our own list of corporate volunteers identified through Connect Dacorum, and coordination with HCC, we have been able to support patient transfers and so move more people out of high-risk environments and get them home.
Store to Door
Our Store-to-Door service is now running, with isolated residents being able to open an account that can be used by volunteers to get their shopping. We currently have 30 residents being restocked this week and will be able to open that up next week to more. The limits will be the number of volunteers we can recruit and their availability. This service is for those who are not supported under Operation Shield and who can afford their shopping but cannot get it currently. Age UK Dacorum are also running a similar scheme for some of their clients and we are looking for more volunteers to support them with that work too.
Residents who cannot afford food should contact Citizens Advice who can refer them to the food banks run by DENS and SouthHill. They can also contact Herts Help, who will put them into the system in the same way.
Dacorum Referral Pathways
Through our weekly meetings, we have looked at the various referral pathways within Dacorum to ensure that people are being signposted to local support offers efficiently and without putting undue strain on other agencies. There are five key areas of support within the Borough; Food and Supplies, Mental Health, Loneliness and Isolation, Elderly and Small Charities. Support is out there for all of these if people need it.
It may be especially useful during stressful times for people who are isolating to be aware of the services that Mediation Herts and CAB are offering to support those with challenging needs due to the confinement of social distancing.
Pop Up Groups
CAD are working with pop-up groups in the Borough as part of our role as the CVS to support them and facilitate their offers being safe and consistent. We have some training and advice sheets available for them, if they need it, and we are able to support them with vetting if they wish.
Currently we are contacting them with a view to holding a telephone or video conference call with them all in the next couple of weeks.
It is our aim to encourage communities to work together and our approach has been to offer them support and advice to ensure they have considered any potential issues and have mitigated against them where possible. We hope that by checking in with these groups we are also able to protect residents by reducing the risk of scamming.
Already the feedback from the groups we have spoken to has been positive with people being very grateful for the offers of support.
Published on: April 7, 2020