Brighter Futures will be handing out free sandwiches to people sleeping rough as part of a new campaign to encourage the community of Stoke-on-Trent to come together during the Coronavirus pandemic.
#StokeonTrentTogether has been formed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council and voluntary sector organisation VAST to offer support to meet the everyday needs of vulnerable residents who are affected by coronavirus, specifically those who are self-isolating and who do not have the support of friends or family to call upon.
Across the city, residents are being asked to get in contact if either they need support or are able to offer support to members of the community who are self-isolating or vulnerable – such as elderly residents and residents who need some extra help and are not already accessing medical or agreed care packages.
As part of our work with people sleeping rough, Brighter Futures will be making sure our customers are fed during this period and know the correct procedures to follow if they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19.
The website – https://corona19.vast.org.uk/ – and telephone line will be live from 9am on Monday, March 23. Residents or organisations can fill in an online form or telephone the helpline to state whether they are able to offer help or would like to access some support.
Some of the support options #StokeonTrentTogether is aiming to provide include:
• Prescription collection
• Gas or electricity meter top-ups
• Dog walking
Councillor Abi Brown, leader of Stoke-on-Trent City Council and cabinet member for corporate resource, strategy and partnerships said: “These are unprecedented times and it’s more important than ever that we look after ourselves and others around us. We are calling on residents and communities to remain calm, stay safe and follow the advice of the government, the NHS and Public Health England.
“As a local authority, we are doing everything we can to support people, but we recognise we are unable to respond to the needs of the community at this time alone. We are pleased to be working with VAST as part of our response to coronavirus to ensure we are all looking out for one another.
“Our city is known for our friendliness and close-knit communities and I know we are all pulling together to get through these extraordinary circumstances. We are also working with other community groups, faith groups and organisations across the city who have already told us they want to offer support in these challenging times. I am looking forward to watching the scheme grow and know that Stoke-on-Trent will continue to show great kindness and camaraderie.”
Lisa Healings, acting CEO at VAST said: “VAST are proud to be working alongside the local authority in co-ordinating a voluntary sector response to the current crisis for the people of Stoke-on-Trent. The voluntary sector is always the first to step up and respond in times of need and we want to make the process of getting the support needed to the right people as easy as possible so that the charities and community groups on the ground can concentrate on what they do best. The team at VAST have worked incredibly hard to produce a website, in a very short time, that can not only get up to date and accurate information to the public, but give a place where both individuals and organisations can request and offer help.”
Residents can access the website here: https://corona19.vast.org.uk/
Residents can also telephone: 0800 5615610
Initially, the telephone line will be open Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm.
For more information and advice on coronavirus (COVID-19) please visit Public Health England: https://publichealthmatters.blog.gov.uk/2020/01/23/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-what-you-need-to-know/ and the NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/.
For the latest information on coronavirus please visit the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
All residents are reminded about the critical importance of regular handwashing with soap and hot water for 20 seconds. The importance of this action cannot be underestimated.
For more information on digital services, visit www.stoke.gov.uk, download the MyStoke App, or follow the city council’s social media channels.