Helping volunteers help the most vulnerable

Home But Not Alone coordinators at West Suffolk Council have helped get support to over 100 vulnerable people in its first full week of operation.

Launched at the beginning of last week, the Home But Not Alone service serves as a safety net to the work of the small band of volunteers who are out delivering food and medicine to the vulnerable in their community.

People who are vulnerable and with no other support available to them can ring the council team on the Home But Not Alone freephone 0800 876 6926 which is staffed from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week.

Voluntary groups meanwhile are asked to register with the council by emailing Families.Communities@WestSuffolk.gov.uk and by registering on the Tribe Volunteer app. People who are registered on the Good Sam app need not register again.

That then enables the Families and Communities team at West Suffolk Council to map and coordinate volunteer support, matching it to the calls it receives from people needing help in a certain area.

In its first week, the West Suffolk team received 109 calls. Of these 89 were from vulnerable people that needed help getting food and 43 needed help getting medication.

John Griffiths, leader of West Suffolk Council, said: “Even before this crisis we had some brilliant community groups working to help local residents and many more have now emerged with people wanting to help the vulnerable in their area during this terrible time.

“Our role, has been, and continues to be about supporting this work however we can, whether through funding, guidance or more. Home But Not Alone is not about replacing or duplicating this great community work but rather to help coordinate things to ensure no one falls between the gaps. We are immensely grateful to the wonderful volunteers who are out getting food and medicine to people, and the community support that has been linking in with our team has been inspirational. We simply could not help people the way we are if we didn’t have this amazing support.

“We would urge any groups, if they haven’t already, to register with us. That way, you are helping to ensure that no one is left home, alone and unable to get help during this crisis.

“We are of course all in this together and we will get through this together.”

The Home But Not Alone campaign is being run by the Suffolk Collaborative made up of all of Suffolk’s district councils, Suffolk County Council, Community Action Suffolk, the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, Suffolk’s Clinical Commissioning Groups, the NHS – Integrated Care System, the Ministry of Defence, the National Probation Service – Norfolk & Suffolk, the Suffolk Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner, Suffolk Constabulary, the Suffolk Association of Local Councils, Suffolk Community Foundation, and Suffolk Voluntary Organisations Group.

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