A second wave of people identified as most at risk from Covid-19 are to receive essential assistance thanks to a new national helpline, which will work in partnership with the Orkney Coronavirus Community Support Hub.
The service, which opened on Tuesday (April 14), offers help to those who do not have family or existing community support, cannot get online and who are over 70, disabled, require the support of mental health services, are pregnant or receive a flu jab for health reasons.
This service is in addition to localised support already available at the Pickaquoy Centre-based Hub for people who have received NHS letters advising them to shield themselves. However, any of those in the shielding category who are not yet receiving assistance, who do not have family and cannot get online can access support via this new helpline – 0800 111 4000 – from 9:00-17:00, seven days a week.
Callers will be automatically connected to the Orkney Hub where staff are supporting the most vulnerable folk in Orkney to access the services they need – whether essential food and medication; links to social work services for vulnerable children or adults; emotional support or for onward contacts with local volunteer groups.
Manager of the Orkney Hub, Keith Bendall, explained: “This latest round tries to identify those who are also at an increased risk from Covid-19 and who may not have any support networks in place to assist them.
“The majority will not need the access assistance, but the helpline, which links directly to the Hub here in Orkney, will help to catch the most vulnerable within these additional categories. It will allow them to access the essential help they need.
“We hope it will give many people the reassurance they deserve at this incredibly challenging time.”
The Hub capability and the number of call handlers has been increased to deal with a possible rise in demand.
The number of essential food parcels delivered by the Hub has reached around 60, Keith added.
“The system seems to be working well and reaching those most in need. We are continuing to drive the message home that we are here to help and that seems to be getting through as the number of requests for assistance has gone up.”
Anyone who has received an NHS letter advising them to shield can telephone the Hub on 0800 111 4000 (Option 8) or by email for support. The Hub is open from 9:00-17:00, seven days a week.
Anyone not in these categories but still looking for support should visit readyscotland.org