Surplus Chelmsford food supplies donated to charity as shielding advice changes

Chelmsford Community Response Hub has donated its extra food supplies to charity as lockdown restrictions ease.

The Government has advised from 1 August the advice to ‘shield’ will be paused. From this date, residents can adopt strict social distancing rather than full shielding measures, meaning they can go out to more places, including food shopping, whilst taking care to continue minimising contact with others.

The Chelmsford Community Response Hub, run in partnership by Chelmsford City Council and Chelmsford Voluntary Service (CVS), has been providing assistance to vulnerable and self-isolating Chelmsford residents in need of support.

Hundreds of volunteers have helped carry out practical tasks including collecting and delivering food and supplies. The CVS has also supported residents with collecting prescriptions, welfare checks, and befriending.

Residents that have been shielding will continue to have access to priority supermarket delivery slots and the Community Response helpline will remain open beyond August 1.

To ensure the surplus food and non-perishable items held in stock at the hub did not go to waste, they have been donated to support local projects and charities.

Food parcels and hampers were provided for struggling families, and supplies were gifted to the Chelmsford District of the Essex Child and Family Wellbeing Service who run a holiday hunger programme during the school holidays to ensure every child has access to a daily hot meal.

Surplus supplies were also given to the Chelmsford Mayor’s chosen charity, Sanctus, which feeds the growing number of homeless, hungry and vulnerable individuals in the city.

Councillor Marie Goldman, deputy leader of Chelmsford City Council, says: “The Community Response Hub has been a brilliant initiative, providing support and kindness in the community during a very uncertain time. It’s been a helpline for vulnerable and shielding residents, enabling people to stay in their homes over the past months.

“The hub has been able to flex the help being offered as more understanding was gained over time about the level of support needed by the shielding public. The food and supplies remaining at the hub have found good homes at Sanctus and in the family hampers and food parcels.”

To help people adjust, Chelmsford City Council will continue to work with the CVS to ensure support is provided for those most in need. If you feel you may need help, the CVS will discuss your needs with you and signpost you on to local support services. Individuals concerned about support can also contact Chelmsford City Council for advice.

Find the latest guidance and information at: https://www.chelmsford.gov.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-support-for-residents

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: [email protected]