Dorset Council has thanked residents for their amazing community response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the Dorset Council area.

To provide extra support where it may be needed, several key voluntary organisations have been mobilised to respond to the impact of the outbreak and support our local communities’ efforts.

Volunteering

If you are part of a community group which requires additional volunteer resource, or if you would like to volunteer but are unsure where to begin, then Volunteer Centre Dorset can assist with this. Registration links can be found on our Co-ordinated Community Response webpage.

Vulnerable people

Age UK (North, South and West Dorset) are the nominated full Dorset Council area organisation coordinating requests for help with issues relating to loneliness and isolation, or support in accessing items such as food, respite for carers or prescription collection with a huge team of DBS checked staff and volunteers able to assist in all non-direct care requirements. This will include temporary respite for carers who need a wellbeing break or to do essential shopping for their own families. They will also be working with our Adult Social Care teams to support low risk hospital discharge patients settle back into their communities.

Contact information can be found on our Co-ordinated Community Response webpage.

Both of these services will be fully operational for referrals by Monday 23 March.

Citizen’s Advice

Citizens Advice are continuing to provide free, independent and confidential advice and information to residents experiencing hardship in anyway. They have a full range of employees and volunteers who are operating their service from home so are not currently adversely affected by self-isolation. They will continue to offer a full range of advice including help with:

  • Benefits entitlement and claims
  • Debt management and budgeting
  • Employment advice, including Statutory Sick Pay and rights when laid off work
  • Advice for the self employed

Contact information can be found on our Co-ordinated Community Response webpage.

Food banks

To ease the predicted increased demand for local food banks, Dorset Council have connected with all foodbanks in the Dorset Council area and given an initial support payment of £1000. Work is also underway to ensure they are able to access all the resources they require and to ensure they all will take electronic vouchers to make the ease of getting this food out to our most vulnerable residents as soon as possible. Find your nearest food bank.

Please adhere to national guidance on social distancing when donating your items or delivering to residents. More information can be found on our website or contact your local food bank for advice.

Supermarkets

Cllr Peter Wharf, Deputy Leader for Dorset Council, has sent a letter to all of Dorset’s major supermarkets asking them to give priority support to:

  • smaller care home providers finding it difficult to access the supplies that they need to the point that they are now running low on some items;
  • vulnerable older people and families where children have special health needs and who are self-isolating and are struggling to access food and essential household items;
  • young carers who need support with shopping;
  • supporting their local foodbanks with resources;
  • and accessing supermarkets at the designated “protected times” may not be possible for those older people living rurally and reliant on public transport.

Work is also in progress with Age UK (North, South and West Dorset) and local providers to see how those who are rurally isolated and may not be able to access shops and foodbanks can receive packages.

Pharmacies

Public Health Dorset are contacting all pharmacies in the Dorset Council Area to give advice on prescription delivery options. Some selected Dorset Council staff have been redeployed to deliver controlled prescriptions.

Cllr Laura Miller, Dorset Council Portfolio Holder for Adult Social Care and Health said: “We have seen an overwhelming response to COVID-19 from our residents, it is great to see our communities coming together during this difficult and uncertain time.

We are working closely with public sector partners and charities across Dorset to ensure the safety of those who are volunteering their time but also to those most vulnerable. It is important that everyone stays safe and well and I would like to ask residents to keep an eye on our social media channels for further updates and to share within their communities.”

You can find more information on how to access support, registering your interest to volunteer and also guidance for those who are currently volunteering on the Dorset Council Co-ordinated Community Response webpage.

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