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Wolverhampton Council staff changing roles to help others

By James Vukmirovic | Wolverhampton | Coronavirus | Published:

Staff at Wolverhampton Council have been redeployed to provide help for vulnerable people from the city during the coronavirus outbreak.

Christopher Jellyman shows the system for helping those people who call the helpline

More than 60 staff from a variety of council departments have started work on an emergency hotline for people who do not have family, friends or carers who can support them.

Working remotely, the staff have been trained to take calls and ensure residents are about to get advice, support and access to basic provisions and services.

This has included directing them to getting help from voluntary sector organisations, Wolverhampton Homes, volunteers and the Wolverhampton Food Hub.

Hannah Pawley is helping the most vulnerable members of the city to access services

Joanna Grocott, who is managing the operation, said the service had already received hundreds of calls and emails and expected the number to rise.

She said: "The response to the hotline and support available has been incredibly positive.

"One person called us in tears of happiness because she had just received her food parcel, and said that she didn't know what she would have done without our support.

“A 71-year-old told us they were really worried about helping their elderly father as they were self-isolating, but with our help, they could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

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Janette Huntbatch is one of a number of Wolverhampton Council staff who is running the hotline

"The call handlers themselves have been fantastic, demonstrating such care and support for the residents who are obviously very stressed and anxious when they first phone up."

Councillor Ian Brookfield, leader of the council, said this was just another example of Wolverhampton coming together at a time of adversity.

He said: "The council, working with health colleagues, has written to thousands of our vulnerable residents and provided details of how to contact us if they need help.

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"That might not be a food parcel, they can also call us if they need someone to go to the shop for them or give them a ring and check if they are ok."

The hotline was set up following the sending of letters by the council and Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group to residents with an underlying health condition or disease which could make them seriously ill if they contracted coronavirus.

At present, and to manage demand, details of the hotline are only being provided to those residents who have been written to by the council as they are believed to be most vulnerable.

The council have asked that if the public is aware of a vulnerable resident who needs support, they should email staysafebekind@wolverhampton.gov.uk

For more information, go to wolverhampton.gov.uk/stay-safe-be-kind.

James Vukmirovic

By James Vukmirovic
Community Reporter - @jamesvukmirovic

Community Reporter at the Express & Star, helping under-represented communities to find a voice in Wolverhampton. Contact me at james.vukmirovic@expressandstar.co.uk.

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