Community hubs have begun operating across East Sussex to bring extra help for people who need support in coping with the effects of coronavirus.
The hubs provide online forms and phone lines which anyone can contact to seek help if they are isolated, anxious or unwell at home and do not have family or friends they can call on.
Volunteers and staff from local councils and the health service will then ensure they try to get the right assistance to the people who need it most, including arranging food deliveries, medical supplies or mental health support.
Community hubs are operating in every part of the county: in Eastbourne, Hastings, Lewes, Rother and Wealden.
The hubs are in addition to direct help which has already been arranged for people with urgent medical conditions who are being asked to shield themselves at home for 12 weeks. These people are being contacted directly by their GPs and can have food parcels delivered directly to their doors through the Sussex Resilience Forum which brings together emergency services, health services, local authorities and other partners across East Sussex, West Sussex and Brighton and Hove.
The community hubs will focus their help on people who do not have an extreme medical condition but may be vulnerable because they are isolated from help, too unwell to buy food or have other pressing difficulties because of coronavirus.
The hubs will also bring together volunteers, donations and projects to co-ordinate East Sussex’s community response to the virus.
John Routledge, of the East Sussex Voluntary Sector Alliance, said: “The hubs are here to make sure everyone who needs some extra help, gets it. Voluntary organisations are working with local government and NHS to help those who need help get access to our specific services and the volunteer groups who can help pick up food or medicines or have a chat. If you need help, ring or email so that together we can ensure no one in East Sussex feels left on their own to cope. We can all face coronavirus together.”
Cllr Keith Glazier, leader of East Sussex County Council, said: “No one in East Sussex should feel they are on their own in these difficult times – community hubs will get help to our neighbours and friends when they need it most urgently. People in all our communities are already supporting each other and these hubs are a way for us help them with people, resources and organisation.”
Jessica Britton, Executive Managing Director for the East Sussex Clinical Commissioning Groups, said: “Ensuring that vulnerable people in our communities have access to the information, advice and support they need in these extremely challenging times is a top priority and we are working together with the voluntary sector and local government partners to enable community hubs to be rapidly established and resourced.”
If you are vulnerable and need support, click here to register.