Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, we have reshaped our services to ensure that we can continue to offer support, advice and guidance to some of the most vulnerable older people in our communities.
The safety of our staff and volunteers is paramount and, where possible, they are working from home. Where this is not possible, we are taking every precaution to ensure that they are able to carry out their work safely.
The majority of our services are continuing to operate as normal, more detail below, and now that the initial panic is over, we are coping well with the increased demand for our support. We will do our very best to continue to provide this support for the forseeable future.
We're making around 400 reassurance phone calls every week to isolated older people who are feeling anxious and vulnerable at this time. If you know someone who needs this kind of support, please get in touch - register here
We're sending a weekly newsletter to around 450 older people who can't access email or the internet to help keep them entertained and socially connected to the outside world.
We're delivering a daily hot meal to around 50 vulnerable older people who might otherwise not get one.
Information and Advice
Our core Information and Advice (I&A) service has seen a huge upsurge in telephone and email contact since the start of the pandemic. We have a fabulous team of staff and volunteers all working from home to answer the queries and requests for help as quickly as possible. As we are no longer able to offer face to face appointments or home visits to undertake benefits checks or help with form filling, our volunteers have seemlessly adapted to providing this support over the telephone. In the last four weeks, the team have answered an impressive 600 calls, a 300% increase on this time last year.
The Wellbeing arm of the I&A service has redeployed its home visiting volunteers to make reassurance telephone calls to around 250 clients, all of whom are isolated at home with little contact with the outside world. In addition, our regular volunteer telephone befrienders continue to make their weekly social calls to around 150 clients.
When the pandemic started, our Community Meals service had only just launched in Swindon. With the crisis escalating and many older people not able to go out and get shopping, the team rapidly accelerated their plans to launch the service into other areas of the county. We are now delivering a daily hot meal to around 50 older people in towns across North Wiltshire, Swindon and as far down as Amesbury and Salisbury. The plan is to launch the service into West Wiltshire in the coming weeks.
Home from Hospital
The team of staff and volunteers continue to work in our regions three large hospitals making sure that older people who no longer need to remain in hospital can return home safely. They are provided with short term practical support with things like shopping, fetching prescriptions and light housework. Of course, our staff and volunteers are provided with appropriate PPE to keep themselves and the clients safe.
The team continue to support their clients from home, making weekly contact by telephone to help keep their spirits up and signpost them to other support services that are available. They are supporting around 60 older people on a weekly basis in this way.