4 May 2020

Local charities have adapted quickly to support those in need

We have been working closely with local charities and the NHS to adapt services to ensure people are supported at this time. 

This has included setting up the Community Hub, where residents can register themselves or someone they are concerned about for help. 

Council staff are working through the registrations and signposting individuals to the best service to meet their need be that with the council or a local voluntary group.

What became apparent very quickly was the need for support around access to food for vulnerable people; those who cannot go out and people whose finances have been affected and need free food to sustain their families and themselves. 

Food hubs

A major operation, led by the Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, to set up food hubs across the city to distribute food parcels swung into action immediately. 

Now with the help of other charities and a team of volunteers they are delivering thousands of food parcels to families and individuals each week. 

Caroline Ridley, CEO of Impact Initiatives, which supports people of all ages across the city, said: “As the doors suddenly closed on many services, the city’s most vulnerable people could have been left adrift without the support they need.  

“From play activities for vulnerable children, drop in sessions for people with mental health or drug or alcohol issues to activities and meals for older people, thousands of people rely on the services we, as charities provide.”

Pooling resources for the city

Impact Initiatives and Time to Talk Befriending are working to ensure people unable to cook are also catered for. 

They have pooled their resources and are delivering tasty and nutritious low-cost meals across the city, working with Exeter Street Hall and Nourish Catering and Events who are donating their time.

They have also teamed up with the council’s Seniors Housing service to ensure that older council tenants have more access to hot meals.

Emily Kenward CEO at Time to Talk said: “Not having access to nutritious food has been a re-occurring issue for the older people we work with, Mark who is 87 told us he wasn’t eating properly and felt really unwell. 

“He said the meals have quite literally been a life-line" 

How we support people has changed

Many charities have moved their services from face to face to online or telephone support and across the city hundreds of people are now receiving weekly or daily calls to check in and provide some contact with the outside world

Mary who is 98 told us that receiving a phone call from a volunteer was the highlight of her week, she said despite the difficulties we always end up laughing, it is a true tonic.

George who has joined in online exercise classes run by the Hop50+ told us the best thing is being able to see friends who he is otherwise apart from, and to see how they are.

Caroline Ridley from Impact added: “This really has been a time of pulling together and quickly adapting what we do to make sure nobody is left without the support they need. 

“We have achieved so much already but are not resting yet, we envisage being needed for a long time to come and we will do whatever it takes to make sure we are here to help”

Councillor Anne Pissaridou, lead member for food, said: "The needs of vulnerable people in our city are complex and the support that the council and local community and voluntary groups provide is vital in supporting them.

"This is not new, but the current situation has made the needs of people in the city more acute so I praise everyone in the the council and local charities in reacting so quickly to help those in need."

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