Hounslow Community Hub has so far handled 11,000 calls and emails as part of the Council’s efforts to ensure the borough’s most vulnerable and isolated residents are cared for.
Published: Wednesday, 6th May 2020
The Hub, which is supported by community and voluntary groups, local businesses and volunteers, has also delivered 2,523 food parcels and offers a wide range of other supports.
The 11,000 calls and emails have been handled primarily by the Council’s customer service and customer relations teams but, as all libraries are closed, the library colleagues have helped too.
The phone calls deal with a multitude of issues ranging from a friendly chat with isolated residents to recording addresses of those who require food supplies. Hub staff continue to try contact any known residents they have yet to hear from and are urging people who know of vulnerable and isolated people to get in touch.
The Hub was set up by the Council on 28 March as a local response to coronavirus and aims to reach the borough’s most vulnerable and isolated residents. It does this by providing a range of essential supports including food parcels and a befriending service while it also addresses more complex care needs.
The 2,523 food parcels already delivered have been packed with fresh fruit and vegetables, eggs, non-perishable items such as tinned fish, pasta and rice as well as UHT milk and pet food when it is available.
Cllr Lily Bath, Deputy Leader of Hounslow Council, and Cabinet Member for Housing and Social Inclusion visited the Hub this week. She said: “We see all these hashtags on Twitter - #WeAreAllInThisTogether and #LondonTogether and Hounslow’s Community Hub harnesses this goodwill and puts it into action. To see that, alongside the small army of Council staff, over 400 residents have expressed interest in volunteering via the Hub website is so inspiring.
“I am also incredibly impressed with the libraries team who have stepped up to help customer services. This has proven vital as the demand on the Hub is huge, and it’s so encouraging to see everyone coming together like this and working in such an efficient manner. I know the majority of calls and emails are responded to on the same day and I’ve heard that residents are phoning back to thank individual staff for their help. This really demonstrates what an effective job Hub staff are doing.”
Cllr Bath also visited Danehurst Sheltered Housing Scheme where she spoke to staff from the Sheltered Housing Service. This service runs 22 sheltered housing schemes which provide homes for 750 residents across the borough.
Sheltered scheme managers have been shopping for residents while also assisting family members who are dropping off supplies for loved ones. The managers have also been making additional welfare calls to residents to provide emotional support during this difficult time. On the same visit Cllr Bath met Hounslow Council’s Linkline staff who have been speaking to, and assessing those who have come out of hospital, with a view to giving them alarms. When these alarms are triggered, an alert is immediately sent to Linkline’s call control room, which is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Linkline staff are also receiving referrals to supply more people with alarms and are physically dropping these alarms into letterboxes, ensuring they are fully charged and ready to go.
Cllr Bath noted: “The sheltered housing and Linkline staff have provided really practical and meaningful support to residents both before, and since the coronavirus pandemic has taken hold. We are very lucky to have such dedicated frontline workers. This is not over yet and I know their great work will continue to benefit the residents throughout the rest of this crisis and beyond.”