Age UK Cheshire – Coronavirus – Our Plan – 20/03/2020 **UPDATED**
The outbreak of the coronavirus has presented challenges to everyone, with the whole country needing to adapt and respond quickly as circumstances change. During this period Age UK Cheshire will continue to do our very best to support older people in Cheshire and to be a good partner, in responding to the challenges that the situation presents.
The wellbeing of the people we work with and our staff and volunteers will be our key priority. As the situation changes, we will need to tweak and adapt what we do, this is a new situation for all of us all and we won’t get everything right first time. We know that we can count on the goodwill, understanding and generosity of people in Cheshire throughout.
There are key areas that we know people will need support with:
- Practical support (e.g. access to food while self-isolating).
- Access to information and advice.
- Befriending support to tackle the impacts of self-isolation.
To address these needs we will be…
- Establishing a single point of access: 01606 881 660.
- Creating ‘Community Coronavirus Response Teams’ to support practical requests for help.
- Continuing to offer excellent information and advice.
- Continuing casework where possible.
- Conducting safe and well checks with all the individuals we are currently working with.
- Expanding telephone befriending.
- Supporting volunteers and responding to offers to volunteer.
- Communicating information from trusted sources.
- Co-ordinating between partner organisations
More information on each of these areas can be found below.
Single Point of Access
For the foreseeable future, we will be operating a single point of access into the organisation, this will be via this telephone number: 01606 881600.
All calls coming in via this number will be triaged according to need.
Requests for practical support, telephone befriending or offers to volunteer will be processed and directed to our ‘Community Coronavirus Response Teams’ or other members of the team as appropriate.
Community Coronavirus Response Teams
Our ‘Community Coronavirus Response Teams’ will each be headed up by a member of our Senior Leadership Team, supported by local members of our staff team and volunteers.
Information & Advice
Enquiries requiring the more usual requests for information and advice will be directed to our ‘Information & Advice’ and ‘Supporting You’ teams.
For those of the team that deliver case work, we will continue to undertake casework over the telephone please where possible. This may be challenging and our team will do their best.
Safe and Well Checks
We will be contacting all the people that we currently work with regularly, at least once a week as a minimum. We will be checking that people are ok, asking if they need any support and if they would like to take part in regular telephone befriending calls.
We will be expanding our telephone befriending support so that we can have regular chats with people throughout this period and beyond if people choose to do so. Members of our staff team will be the befrienders.
We have written to all our current volunteers explaining that their normal volunteering activities are paused and advising that we may be calling on them for support as the situation progresses. Our current volunteers will be our first point of call for requests for volunteer support, as we know the volunteers and we can be confident that they understand volunteering activities, including safeguarding, which is a key concern at this time.
We have received a large number of offers of support from members of the public who we haven’t met before. We are recording these offers and in the first instance we are encouraging the individuals to be neighbourly and giving them hints and tips on how they can volunteer in their own communities. Should we get requests for volunteer activity that is supervised and does not involve one-to-one type work, we will make them aware of these appeals.
We are encouraging all our Volunteers to share our social media messaging.
We will be concentrating on creating social media posts that are informative and entertaining. We will be sharing messages and posts from trusted sources and sharing ways in which people can continue to access support. We would really appreciate the support of the whole community in sharing these messages to counteract some of the less reliable information that can circulate.
Co-ordination between partner organisations
We will be continuing to work closely with our partners, including our voluntary sector partners, health, councils and police. This will be vital in ensuring that the people who need support receive it from the most appropriate, local source.
It is going to be a testing time for all of us, we know that we can rely on our whole team to pull together, be patient, be understanding and be generous. We ask the same of our partners and members of our public as we all find a way through this time.
Dale Maskell – CEO – Age UK Cheshire