Derbyshire County Council is co-ordinating a massive community response across the county to make sure vulnerable residents are supported through the coronavirus outbreak.
It's urging the network of community groups, voluntary and business organisations to help by signing up to be part of the Derbyshire Community Response Unit.
Groups, organisations and businesses are being urged to get in touch if they can provide goods or offer to help deliver services such as:
- Food shopping and delivery
- Checking up on people who are isolated with a phone call or online to help prevent loneliness and check whether there is anything they need
- Collecting and delivering prescriptions
- Preparing meals
Community groups, businesses and other organisations would be part of the coordinated community response – which will also include volunteers from Derbyshire Emergency Volunteers, Peak 4x4, British Red Cross and St John’s Ambulance.
Any groups that think they may be able to help are asked to register their details - even if they have already been in touch to offer help - via the county council’s website at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/communityresponse.
Residents who could be helped by the Community Response Unit include those who are self-isolating because they, or a member of their household, is at risk from coronavirus.
Support will be offered to residents struggling to meet their basic needs because of financial, social and health restrictions – including pregnant women, people with some underlying health conditions and those aged 70 or over.
Cllr Barry Lewis, Derbyshire County Council Leader, said: "The resilience and generosity of Derbyshire people never ceases to amaze me – and it’s never been needed more. We need groups to volunteer to come forward to help the most vulnerable people in our community and support vital services during these uncertain times.
"It’s important that we all pull together and work to keep everyone as safe and protected as possible. We’ve already received some offers of help and I know there will be more of you keen to show that Derbyshire spirit.
"So if your group or organisation can help, please register your details at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/communityresponse – even if you’ve already offered to help – and join our army of volunteers. Together, we will get through this."
The rallying call comes as Derbyshire’s Local Resilience Forum, a multi-agency partnership of local public services including councils, the emergency services and the NHS, declared a ‘Major Incident’ this week in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
A Major Incident is defined as a situation with a range of serious consequences which require special arrangements to be put in place by one or more organisations within the resilience forum. It formalises the extensive partnership working that is already taking place in Derbyshire in response to the coronavirus outbreak and allows the organisations involved to act quickly to put in place any new support needed.
Dean Wallace, Director Public Health at Derbyshire County Council and leader of the major incident, reassured people that this is a sensible procedural step in the county-wide pubic service response.
He said: "The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in modern times and has already seen a wide range of measures brought in to place by the Government to ensure the virus outbreak is suppressed as much as possible.
"Public sector organisations have been working for weeks to ensure that essential services continue to be delivered and that we can and are responding to support the people of Derbyshire.
"The declaration of a major incident formalises the work that is already going on and ensures we have the most effective structures in place to work together, across our communities, to support and serve local people. I am sure that our residents would expect us to declare this situation to be a major incident given the impact it is having on daily life.
"I want to reiterate the guidance that has been issued to people around social distancing, self-isolation and hand hygiene, all of which will help us combat the virus. Please use and follow the information that is being given on the government, NHS and Derbyshire County Council websites and through the wider media."
More guidance and information on the coronavirus outbreak and local implications can be found at www.derbyshire.gov.uk/coronavirus.
Keep up to date with all the latest local and national developments here: https://www.questmedianetwork.co.uk/news/daily-coronavirus-updates/.