COVID 19 - Age UK Essex measures in place
Updated Monday 1 June
Please see all important updates to our services below
Diane Nicola, Chief Executive comments as follows:
"As you are aware, the government and the NHS continue to issue guidance regarding coronavirus (COVID-19)..
Please see below, an update as to what measures Age UK Essex have put in place in order for us to manage our services as well as possible over the coming weeks/months.
First and foremost, we have a duty of care to our staff, volunteers, and clients. We also need to manage our services as efficiently as possible in a situation where much is out of our control, therefore we are controlling the things we can.
As an organisation we have put in place a number of measures to help reduce the risk of infection including anti-bacterial hand washes, additional signage and advice about hand washing as well as signposting people to government websites.
We have in place a robust Business Continuity Plan which has been implemented. The plan is designed to ensure that we minimise the risk to the health of older people, staff and volunteers whilst at the same time ensuring that we can continue to support and provide services to older people and respect their choice to live independently.
The individual services outlined below are based on our Business Continuity Plan and the prevailing medical advice from Professor Chris Whitty the Chief Medical Officer for England and from Public Health England, whilst employment-based advice for our staff is being provided by ACAS and the government websites.
We will continue to take the advice given by the government and apply it in a practical way to our own services.
As reassurance to our stakeholders we are happy to share the following information with you which addresses each service across the charity. Ours services have their own continuity plan to cover the most recent events and in summary they are as follows:
- All staff working on our Advocacy related projects (Smart Life, PCN Link Workers etc) are working remotely continuing to supply reassurance, guidance and support.
- In House Advocacy home visits haved stopped for the duration and will resume when we are better placed to deliver a risk free service.
- A contingency plan is in place and staff and volunteers have been informed of what to do in the event that they become unwell.
- We are continuing with telephone befriending in the usual way.
- Clients who are usually visited at home by a volunteer befriender are now receiving a telephone call as an alternative.
- Telephone befrienders who would normally work from the offices are making their calls from home where possible.
- Our befriending staff are working remotely and are still available via the normal office contact details (visit the Befriending service page for information) during the usual office opening hours.
Customer Care Team
- Our Home Help Customer Care Team and daily operations are continuing to operate via the normal office contact details (visit the Home Help service page for information) during the usual office opening hours.
- Our Customer Care Team will continue to take Home Help enquiries and make wellbeing calls.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic it has become necessary for Age UK Essex to make some temporary changes to our Home Help Service, in order to continue to protect all of our clients and Home Help staff.
From Tuesday 14th April, we temporarily suspended the Home Help Service. We originally anticipated that our normal service may be able to resume in June, however, we are reviewing the service each week, and will continue to be led by the latest government advice and guidance in order to best preserve the health and safety of our clients and staff. The service will remain suspended until further notice.
As part of our commitment to support older people in their own homes we continue to provide Home Help clients with a regular wellbeing call and emergency shopping service. Staff and volunteers are working hard to deliver the temporary measures that have been put in place which you may find helpful, as below;
- Our free Information and Advice Service remains open and fully trained staff can be contacted on 01245 346106 (They may be able to help to access any further support that may be needed).
- We have provisions in place to coordinate emergency shopping deliveries for clients identified who are in need.
- Our Customer Care Team staff and volunteers continue to make wellbeing calls during this extended period of isolation to ensure that our clients are well and managing ok, and may also be able to provide help to access other services that may be of interest.
- In addition to the above information there are now several community groups that have been set up that can provide help and assistance.
Other contact details for support outside Age UK Essex
- Essex Welfare Service - 0300 303 9988
- Southend Borough Council Coronavirus Action - 01702 212497
- Thurrock Coronavirus Community Action - 01375 511002
- Essex County Council - 0345 743 0430
Details of district, borough or city councils in Essex:
Basildon Council - 01268 533333
Braintree Council - 01376 552525
Brentwood Council - 01277 312500
Castlepoint Council - 01268 882200
Chelmsford Council - 01245 606606
Colchester Council - 01206 282222
Epping Forest Council - 01992 564000
Harlow Council - 01279 446655
Maldon Council - 01621 854477
Rochford Council - 01702 546366
Southend Borough Council - 01702 212497
Tendring Council - 01255 686868
Uttlesford Council - 01799 510510
Please be assured that the decision to suspend the Home Help Service has not been taken lightly and has been given much consideration, our main priority is to protect our clients and our Home Help staff, and continue to keep people safe and well in their own home, whilst providing support where we can.
We will continue to monitor the situation and will contact our clients as soon as we are able to resume our usual level of service.
We will be adding information to our website of other support agencies that can offer assistance during this time, as and when they become available.
Fundraising & Marketing/networking events/promotion
- Our team are not attending any planned events in the foreseeable future until it is safe to resume usual practice.
- Services are not being actively promoted within the community where there is to be any type of gathering until it is safe to resume usual practice.
- An urgent appeal has been set up to help provide funding to continue the support being offered to older people during the Corona crisis.
- For regular updates follow us on social media.
Information and Advice
- The Information and Advice staff continue to work remotely from home.
- If staff become unwell, our contingency plan involves extending the existing integration with the National I&A line if need be.
- As we use a cloud based system across the charity, our staff are able to carry out most daily/normal functions as usual.
- Our amazing volunteers have been asked not to visit anyone in their own home, however, we are inviting all volunteers to take on other roles in the interim period, such as telephone befriending, to address the debilitating effects of loneliness and/or social isolation.
- Our volunteers are making telephone befriending calls, wellbeing calls and making emergency food parcel deliveries in order to support people as much as possible throughout this extended period of isolation.
I will continue to monitor our charitable support and activities in accordance with the latest government guidance and news reports as they unfold on a daily basis, and the above information may be subject to change going forward.
Please be assured that we have a very experienced and strong team at Age UK Essex which is made up of Senior Management staff, operational and frontline service staff and volunteers who operate across the charity and together, we are continuously working to mitigate risk, whilst delivering the valuable services that are so important to our clients, their families/carers more than ever before.
In the meantime, we will continue to provide updates as necessary."
Useful websites with up to date information