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Community support hubs have a record week helping residents in need

Posted on 8 Apr 2020

This week marks a phenomenal milestone for the Council’s community support hub network as teams work together to tackle the challenges of Covid-19.

Answering over 2,200 calls this week, the community support hubs have been working tirelessly alongside passionate volunteers to meet the demand of assisting residents in Arran, North Coast & Cumbrae, Garnock Valley, Irvine, Kilwinning and the Three Towns.

The hub teams have carried out a record 2,153 food deliveries and 746 prescription drop-offs this week alone, while the hub teams have provided advice and signposting to over 400 residents to key statutory services.

Since being established on March 24, the hubs are also in the process of providing helpful solutions to over 3,800 support requests which include supporting vulnerable residents and those in isolation to access emergency food supplies as well as connecting with people struggling with money worries, social isolation and poor mental health.

The hubs have also supported 60 residents as part of their #perioddignity campaign to stamp out period poverty, helping them to access free period products during the pandemic.

Due to current social distancing guidance, the hubs are not open for the public and work on a rota basis to keep to a minimal number of people.

Councillor Louise McPhater, Cabinet Member for Communities, has been volunteering via the Irvine locality hub. She said: “I have experienced first-hand the selfless drive, bravery and determination of everyone involved in this immense community effort.

“Without the help of 600 volunteers (and counting) signing up so far, we simply could not have reached the record numbers of local people in need this week who are depending on us as a lifeline as we navigate our way through the community challenges of the coronavirus.”

Together with the Council’s Facilities Management teams, the community hubs will continue to work in partnership with North Ayrshire Foodbank to provide food provision to families and vulnerable shielding residents during the pandemic.

With not everyone being eligible for free food packages, the locality hubs are bridging the gap to assist people to get the essential groceries they need where no other help is available.

Councillor McPhater added: “With the continued support of the community hub locality leads, Facilities Management teams, North Ayrshire Foodbank and our network of community partners, I am confident we can continue to play a pivotal role in tackling the difficulties faced by so many during these unprecedented times.

“I would urge anyone else who is willing to help out to get in touch. Whether you’re looking to volunteer from home, supporting us with daily check-in phone calls or helping our team of drivers to deliver essential items, we want to hear from you.”

If you are not currently volunteering yet or are part of an already established community group and want to get involved, email communityplanning@north-ayrshire.gov.uk or visit the website http://northayrshire.community/

Not everyone will be required to volunteer immediately as the hub coordinators will be working on a bank resource of volunteers to step in over the coming weeks and months.

No volunteers will be authorised or asked to go into houses. If you are out in the community, there would be ‘doorstep drops’ only and we would urge the public to be alert and remember to check for genuine callers as all approved locality hub volunteers will be issued with an ID badge before going out into the community.

Even if you don’t take part through a formal volunteering route, everyone has got a part to play in helping North Ayrshire communities at this difficult time. We can all maintain social distancing when we are out, avoid buying more food than we actually need and check in on our neighbours by telephoning them.

And, if you are in need of help from our community hub taskforce and would like to find out how your local hub can help you, contact us now on 01294 310 000.