Essex Future News

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Future of Essex Newlsetter

An Essex response to COVID-19

Across Essex we are all working hard to provide support and protection for the most vulnerable people in our communities, acting quickly and effectively in response to COVID-19.  Work is being carried out across all areas of the county to make it simple for residents to access basic day to day provisions and support whilst heeding the Government message to ‘Stay Home, Save Lives and Protect the NHS’.

We wanted to use this bulletin to share with you some of the work going on across Essex and some of the thinking being undertaken collaboratively across the system.

Please do share this bulletin with people in your network for information.

If you are involved in work that would benefit from being shared with a wider partnership audience or you would like to know more about any of the work shared in this bulletin, please contact us at essex.partners@essex.gov.uk

COVID

Excess Deaths planning

The Faith, Communities and Welfare Cell has been working closely with faith leaders and representatives from faith community groups from across Essex to ensure that any planning in relation to Excess Deaths is carried out with the utmost sensitivity.  The Group is in weekly communication creating a forum for the sharing of consistent messaging and for monitoring any changes in pressures on faith groups relating directly to COVID-19 or the isolation and social distancing measures being implemented at this time.


Bereavement

With any increase in the number of deaths across Greater Essex, it is important that we consider the humanitarian side support for individuals, families and communities and consider how we might increase the capacity of bereavement support available.  Whether a death is a direct result of COVID-19 or not, the current measures in place to isolate and practice social distancing will prevent people from being close to their loved ones immediately before or after death. In many cases the measures will prevent the customs, cultural or religious norms that individuals would want to observe, creating even greater emotional upheaval and an increased need for support at all levels, from information and advice to specialist one to one bereavement counselling.

Working with the Bishop of Colchester, Roger Morris, ECC has been liaising with multi-faith community leaders, voluntary sector and community organisations as well as the network of Hospices across Essex to create a joined-up response to meeting the increased level of need for bereavement support at all levels.

More information on bereavement support can be found here:  https://www.essex.gov.uk/coronavirus-and-faith/bereavement-support


Local Community Hub

The Local Community Hub Sitrep group meets online every day to discuss and to collectively plan the logistics needed to ensure that the most vulnerable residents across Essex receive regular food parcels and medication.  Parcels are a combination of Government Support, County supplies and supplies purchased by District, Borough and City Councils through local relationships with Supermarkets, Wholesalers and Pharmacists.

There is no single model for the provision of Local Community Hubs with each District, Borough and City Council working to respond to local conditions.  Almost all take the form of a local distribution centre within the community staffed by council staff and local volunteers.

The daily meetings enable the group to check in and support one another, to update on progress across the county and respond to any changes in advice from Government or NHS England.

Uttlesford District Council have partnered with Border Force colleagues from Stansted Airport who have been collecting and distributing prescriptions to vulnerable residents across the District.


Essex Welfare Service

Essex County Council has set up a new service to help vulnerable people in our community who are staying at home and in need of support during the coronavirus period.

Essex Welfare Service is specifically for those people who are not able to get any support from either family or friends or from their local hubs and district area support groups.

The Essex Welfare Service relies on volunteers and thousands of you have already registered to help. If you can help, please sign up to volunteer at www.essexwelfareservice.org.uk

When someone signs up for support, the Essex Welfare Service will match them with a local volunteer. If the volunteer can complete the shopping for essential items locally, they pick up the supplies and deliver them to the resident’s home while following social distancing guidelines.

The Essex Welfare Service, headed up by Kirsty O’Callaghan has been working with all their volunteers to provide them with ID Cards that enable them to shop for more than one person and benefit from an agreed relationship with supermarkets, meaning the process of shopping and paying on behalf of others is smoother and quicker.


Foodbank

A Foodbank support network has been set up to help identify the challenges foodbanks across Essex are facing as a result of COVID-19, share good practice and develop a co-ordinated response.

We have scheduled weekly calls for 3-4pm each Wednesday for anyone involved in foodbank work in Essex to drop in for any or all of the slot as they wish.

On the 8th April we held our second weekly telephone meeting which over 20 people joined.  Through the call participants shared details of funding opportunities, arrangements with supermarkets and wholesalers, and advice on how they have been coping with increased demand.

If you would like to be added to the invite for the weekly calls please contact essex.partners@essex.gov.uk


Supermarkets

In Essex there could be up to 400,000 vulnerable households who we will need to support with shopping. Most will be looked after by relatives and friends, but some will require the support of local hubs or the Essex Wellbeing Service and their volunteers to get essential supplies.

To avoid overwhelming stores, Essex County Council have been working with local supermarkets to put in place a volunteer shopping scheme.

All Essex volunteers through our scheme will be identifiable through a County Council issued volunteer card. This card will allow the volunteers to shop for multiple households and for more than a week of groceries per household at participating stores.  It is hoped the scheme will help reduce the time spent in-store and allow the good practice of social distancing as per government guidelines. 

Essex County Council has contacted stores across Essex to ask that:

  • Card-carrying volunteers are able to visit the store during restricted hours, as well as at other times the store is open  to shop for multiple vulnerable families.
  • All staff are briefed on the volunteer card scheme to reduce the risk that volunteers will be turned away by the store or refused service. 

The Essex Map: Connecting Communities During the Coronavirus Outbreak

The Essex Alliance, a co-operative of charities and social enterprises in Essex, are utilising their existing community asset map to help the people of Essex find support, activities, and deliveries during the coronavirus outbreak.

Residents can search the website to find charities, community groups, and social enterprises, as well as organisations who can offer home deliveries as well as home-based activities and home school resources.

The Essex Map also has a page dedicated to the key information on where to find help and advice, including how to volunteer to help your local community.

Visit www.EssexMap.co.uk/coronavirus to find out more.


Vulnerability & Risk

The Public Health Intelligence Team have developed a vulnerability and risk dashboard to help public and community sector partners understand levels of vulnerability in neighbourhoods across Essex. It has been prepared to help support and inform the partnership response to the current Coronavirus crisis.

Mirroring guidance from government, the dashboard presents data on the age of the local populations and on the prevalence of certain health conditions at the neighbourhood level. These measures reflect the risk characteristics associated with disproportionate COVID-19 mortality. 

The dashboard also presents a wider ‘vulnerability’ index. This index combines around fifty indicators reflecting both the health of local populations and the wider (non-health related) characteristics that might leave households vulnerable through the crisis. 

Finally, the dashboard presents a ‘cluster analysis’ grouping neighbourhoods across Essex into a management set of categories based on local health outcomes, local demographics and the wider vulnerability of households.

We hope that the dashboard and the analysis it presents will support partners to take action at the strategic and operational level to help tackle the Coronavirus outbreak.

The dashboard is available at https://data.essex.gov.uk/dataset/2ydz7/covid19-risk-and-vulnerability-mapping-dashboard

If you have any questions or queries about this dashboard please contact research@essex.gov.uk


Volunteering Co-ordination and Sustainability

A multi-organisation group has been set up to help understand the extent of volunteering capacity across the Essex system by linking into the Essex Welfare Service, Community Response Hubs, the Voluntary and Community Sector (VCS), Emergency Services and businesses.

The group is working to:

  • Ensure volunteers and offers of support from local organisations are effectively managed to support delivery during the COVID-19 response and recovery
  • Understand the needs of the sector during the COVID-19 response
  • Identify the future volunteering model we need in Essex to deliver key services, meet the needs of local places and to scale up when needed to meet emergency situations.

If you are involved in work that would benefit from being shared with a wider partnership audience or you would like to know more about any of the work shared in this bulletin, do please do contact us at essex.partners@essex.gov.uk