Appeal for those shielding across Falkirk district to come forward

Falkirk Council is trying contact every single person it has been told is ‘shielding’ from the Covid-19 pandemic, to make sure everyone is getting the help they need.

By Kirsty Paterson
Monday, 4th May 2020, 7:30 am
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 5:24 pm

The council’s Support for People team – which was set up to help vulnerable people during the coronavirus crisis – has called all of the 4500 vulnerable people it has been told about, to offer its services.

But many have not replied and while that could mean they are being looked after by neighbours or relatives, the council team is keen for them to get in touch so they can make sure no-one has been overlooked.

The Support for People team has links with an army of volunteers from charities and community groups in every part of the district, which means they can get help quickly to anyone who needs it.

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Adele Morton - support for people advisor with Falkirk Council

Priority is given to people who the NHS has said must be shielded from the coronavirus and have no-one else near them who is able to help.

But the service can also support others who may find themselves struggling more as time goes on – and that includes people suffering from the loneliness of the enforced isolation.

At the end of April, the council reported that 2508 people had called the team since it was set up on March 25 – including 457 requests that came through the national helpline.

Many of the callers just needed advice, but 1068 went on to get food, medicine or help with other essentials.

Amanda Maclean - support for people advisor for Falkirk Council

A council spokesperson said: “The help they have been given has included sourcing hearing aid batteries for someone unable to leave home, giving advice on travel, and sourcing emergency food out of hours.

“There can be a number of difficulties with our new way of living for the most vulnerable, and our officers are willing to go above and beyond to help where possible, while also working from home in their own family situations.

“We are extremely grateful to the voluntary agencies who are providing services to the most vulnerable.”

And the team knows that more and more people could be finding things difficult as the lockdown continues, so they are urging people to call if they need help.

They recognise that for some the most difficult thing about lockdown is the lack of contact with others.

However, several voluntary organisations offer telephone befriending to help combat isolation and loneliness and the team promotes these services to people who may benefit from them.

Part of its role is to make referrals to the Scottish Government for the weekly food parcels provided to those shielding and so far they have made 429.

Volunteers from Falkirk Community Trust will help people who need help getting the big boxes into their homes and so far 112 have said they need assistance with this.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, leader of Falkirk Council said: “The Support for People service has been a real lifeline for thousands of people in our communities and has provided real help and guidance in really difficult times.

“It has made dozens of connections with local community groups and volunteer organisations so that the help can get to people who need it most and quickly.

“The service can also help individuals and families who may be becoming more vulnerable as a result of financial difficulties as we can signpost them to support services that can make a real difference to their circumstances.

“We still want to ensure that everyone who is currently on the list contacts us so that there is that vital connection should they need additional help.

“If you are aware of anyone in these circumstances who has not made contact, please ask them to get in touch as soon as possible.”

To get in touch with Support for People call 0808 100 3161 or find them online at www.falkirk.gov.uk/supportforpeople .

It is available seven days a week between 9 am and 6:30 pm

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