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Cambridgeshire Countywide Hub reflects on success helping thousands as shielding comes to end

Cambridgeshire County Council's countywide hub which has looked after the area's vulnerable during the lockdown is set to move into the next phase of its support.

The hub has been staffed by volunteers and council workers who have been seconded from their normal day to day roles in order to help look after the vulnerable in our county.

At the start of the pandemic we identified 19,040 people who required our help. All were contacted by letter and phone and from this the hub has been in regular contact, mainly weekly, with 7,812 shielded people.

Food parcels ready to go out from Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council. Picture: County Council Daily Briefing (39512847)
Food parcels ready to go out from Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council. Picture: County Council Daily Briefing (39512847)

People asked for help in many ways; there were 7,763 direct phone calls for help and 5,737 direct emails asking for help.

Help came in all kinds of forms. For example, the hub delivered 3,312 food packages and referred 806 people for befriending support via the Red Cross.

Initially the hub was geared up for practical hands on support such as food packages and delivery of medication, but it quickly became apparent that mental health and loneliness and isolation were additional concerns and the service quickly responded to this. The support officers were invaluable in reaching pout on a regular basis to the shielded community.

Throughout July support officers have been working with the community to help them with transitioning out of shielding.

So far 6,185 people who have been receiving regular calls have been supported to learn new skills and processes ensuring that they are able to access food and medication for themselves.

Whilst the hub is pausing there is still lots of information for people who have been shielding available to view on the council's website.

As well as information about what support will be on offer after the national programme pauses on July 31, people can also find support available where they live via the Peterborough Information Network and the Cambridgeshire Online Directory, both of which provide residents and families with information on organisations, services and events across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. For more information visit https://www.peterborough.gov.uk/healthcare/peterborough-information-network or https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/cambridgeshire-online-directory

Adrian Chapman, services director for communities and partnerships, said: “The hub has worked very hard to make sure that everyone who is shielding – around 32,000 people across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough – have had all the information and support they need in place for when the shielding programme is paused from August 1.

“Just a small number of this community are likely to continue to need support from the hub, at least initially, although we remain here in case that changes. To help people to see the sorts of changes that have happened outside whilst they’ve been shielding our support officers have been preparing them with the weekly phone calls as to how 'the world' has altered and additionally we have produced a short video of what to expect in a supermarket and pharmacy now.”

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