24 March 2020
We are all keen to do what we can to support vulnerable friends and neighbours. There are some specific things we can do while remembering that keeping ourselves safe and healthy is of paramount importance in order to stop the spread of coronavirus and therefore keep others well too.
HOW TO HELP
There are many groups springing up to help co-ordinate community responses and we are recommending that anyone willing and able to volunteer registers via CVS, which is the organisation appointed and recommended by Lancaster City Council. This avoids duplication and keeps you up to date with any advice or training needed when volunteering. The form is available from this page - http://www.lancaster.gov.uk/environmental-health/emergency-planning/coronavirus-what-can-i-do-to-help-my-family-friends-and-neighbours
In addition we can all reach out in a 'Hyper-Local' way to neighbours who are elderly or vulnerable with a note through the door to introduce ourselves and to offer help with shopping or errands or just to chat if appropriate. We want to encourage 'spatial distancing' not social distancing: already there are many people feeling bereft of the social contacts that keep them healthy.
Useful links for advice about dealing with the virus, how to volunteer or donate - especially to food banks - below:
Our Councillors are involved in the briefings and discussions that come from the designated Lancashire Resilience Forum - which is where the various public organisations are planning the response, and how to meet the needs of specific groups.
Cabinet members, Tim Hamilton-Cox, Caroline Jackson and Dave Brookes, are involved in almost daily cabinet updates. Caroline Jackson and Gina Dowding are the group's members appointed to a newly formed Cross Party Covid-19 group. We are flagging up the specific financial difficulties of sole traders, freelancers and the self-employed who appear not to have had as much priority in the Government financial package of help, and also those particularly vulnerable in our city especially the homeless.
We are also aware that there are some vital unresolved issues such as the availability of protective clothing and equipment for those on the front line - in addition to our NHS workers - such as those working in the wider care sector and shop workers.
Scotforth West Green Councillor, Joanna Young, is doing an amazing job co-ordinating the efforts of Morecambe Bay Foodbank in her role as Trustee and is helping organise the district-wide response to the additional need for food parcels.