CORONAVIRUS LATEST: Southend Council working with volunteer and community groups

Southend Council is working closely with local volunteer and community groups to make sure there is community resilience to the coronavirus.

The council is working closely in collaboration with other voluntary and community sector organisations to pull together a community response. Their aim is to ensure the more vulnerable and isolated are not alone and are getting the support they need.

Many of the third sector organisations the council works with quickly adapted their services to help communities during this time of uncertainty. In return the council is relaxing the contract requirements so the voluntary and community partners in Southend can continue to provide that help.

Cllr Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said: “We are working closely with our partners so we can pool resources and knowledge to think about what we can do differently to reach the more vulnerable in our community.

“This could take many forms, virtual support, shopping for residents, working closely with local neighbours to offer a street response, walking dogs, delivering books and so on. We are scoping skills, opportunities and workforce and plan to have a flexible plan in place, so we can continue to adapt as the national situation changes and priorities shift.

“This work is so important, we have to make sure it continues. We must help those who are the most vulnerable in our society and I want to thank everyone in the third sector who is working so hard to make this community resilience happen. Together we are stronger.”

Kristina Jackson, chief executive officer at SAVS, said: “Whilst we are ensuring that we take full direction from both Local and National Government each day, and will act accordingly, keeping everyone safe, at the moment we are delivering a changing service and responding to needs on a daily basis.

“We will, through our partnership with Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and South Essex community hubs, work really closely to ensure that the needs of the sector are highlighted and a collaborative response can be found to support everyone who needs it.

“It is important that our wonderful proactive groups and organisations continue to work together in a co-ordinated effort to get the best use of what will become sparse resources.

“My message to everyone is; stay connected, safe and well. Reach out, we are here for you.”

In addition to this, a volunteering action team has been set up, as a collaboration between the council, public health and SAVS. Members of the public who would like to volunteer to do helpful tasks such as shopping, for those who need it and can’t get out, will be able to sign up via a new collaborative Facebook page.

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]