People are being urged to volunteer to support some of the city’s most vulnerable people as part of a community response to coronavirus in Stoke-on-Trent.

#StokeonTrentTogether has been formed by Stoke-on-Trent City Council working alongside local charity and voluntary sector organisation VAST to meet the everyday needs of vulnerable residents who are affected by Covid-19 specifically those who are self-isolating and who do not have the support of friends or family to call upon.

It offers a free call telephone line and website service so that people can access help to get basic food supplies, prescription collections, gas or electricity meter top-ups, regular conversations and even dog walking.

Nearly 400 volunteers have already registered to be part of the initiative but more are being urged to sign up as 500 people have already turned to the helpline for help and support. Requests so far have included help with prescriptions, nappies and baby formula.

Council leader Abi Brown said: “129 organisations across the city have already volunteered to support #StokeonTrentTogether. It’s been an amazing response but we need more people to come forward to help. Your city needs you. It can be as simple as agreeing to phone someone who may be lonely in their own home as they self-isolate. Whatever level of support you sign up to give will go a huge way to making a difference to people in need. Over the weekend we worked closely with The Hubb Foundation in Burslem to get emergency supplies out to people in need. We were able to get food out to one resident who hadn’t eaten for two days after becoming ill with the virus and self-isolating. We also got nappies and formula to a young family who are all self-isolating. It is invaluable work and we know that the people of Stoke-on-Trent will get out of it as much as they put in. While our team of volunteers and staff were able to meet all the demand, we want more volunteers to come forward. We are also encouraging people who would like to support with donations to go to their local food bank although they should do this in a considered way that is mindful of government advice on social distancing and essential journeys only.”

Food parcels have also started to be delivered to people who cannot leave their homes across Stoke-on-Trent. These first food parcels are being co-ordinated by Stoke-on-Trent City Council to support the most vulnerable residents in the city who have been told to self-isolate at home for 12 weeks in response to the coronavirus crisis.

A total of 1.5 million extremely vulnerable people have been asked to shield themselves during the pandemic as the Government urges residents nationally to ‘stay at home and save lives.’

Pallets of supplies were received from government at Fenton Manor Leisure Centre, which was shut to members of the public as a result of Covid-19, and is now doubling up as a logistical hub to help with distribution of the critical supplies across the city.

Staff from Unitas, the council’s housing repairs company and council staff – some of whom have been redeployed from other non-essential council services that have closed – have worked to co-ordinate the supplies. The packages contain essentials such as bread, milk, toilet roll, pasta, fruit and tinned goods and are enough to give an individual food for a week.

Council leader Abi Brown continued: “The situation is fast-paced and ever changing but it’s been extremely heart-warming to hear that alongside the work by #StokeonTrentTogether, the first packages are being delivered to some of the most vulnerable in our city. We are linking with our suppliers and making the best use of supply chains in the city – such as wholesalers that we have contracts with as well as our City Catering teams – so that we can continue to help the people that we need to. Across the city, people are standing up to be counted. It’s amazing to see such selfless acts of kindness and support for those in greatest need. I’m so proud of everyone involved. These are extraordinary times where we’re seeing an extraordinary response. I’m in no doubt Stoke-on-Trent will shine in these challenging times. Finally we are urging hotels and other accommodation to consider if they can support in our bid to find a suitable location for those who are homeless to stay following new guidance introduced by government. If you think you can help, please get in touch.” 

Donations can be received at Fenton Manor Sports Complex, in City Road, Fenton or Dimensions Leisure Centre, Scotia Road, Burslem between 8.30am and 4.30pm as well as to other food banks across the city. Donations of food, nappies, baby milk, baby wipes and sanitary products are particularly welcome.

For more information about the #StokeonTrentTogether community support scheme click here.

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.

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