Council supports Voluntary Sector on Community Enablement
Cllr Sarah James co-ordinated a meeting that brought together council officers, representatives from the voluntary and community sector and the newly formed mutual aid groups.
In these uncertain and challenging times, one of the council’s key areas of focus must be to support vulnerable residents and communities, practically and emotionally. We have already started work to co-ordinate a partnership response across the Council, the NHS, Homes for Haringey, faith communities, the voluntary and community sector, community action groups and other partners all of which share our overarching aim to help those residents most affected by the Coronavirus outbreak.
Working with partners, we have identified a number of key areas responding to access to food and essential supplies, food poverty, social isolation, poor mental health and wellbeing, adverse impact on carers, limited access to health care and the potential impact of debt on housing and day to day life. We recognise that we need a variety of approaches for both the immediate and the longer term, for different levels of need and which can be delivered by a range of organisations – including local neighbourhood groups, the voluntary and community sector and statutory agencies.
In the meeting with voluntary sector partners, it was evident that there is a huge amount of goodwill and a lot going on – and that therefore co-ordination will be a key role for the Council. Voluntary and community organisations, arts and culture venues, faith communities and other organisations have already changed the way they work to ensure they continue to offer support in ways which comply with the latest government guidance. But we know these are unprecedented times and we will need to do more together as the Coronavirus outbreak progresses – one of our tasks is to make sure that we have the infrastructure in place to do this which can mobilise support in a range of ways. So we are working at pace, through a weekly Community Enablement Group with partners, on a partnership operating model which will be sustainable into the future, recognising the long-term impacts of Coronavirus for all residents, and particularly those most vulnerable.
In the first instance, we will signpost residents to the Connected Communities page on the Council’s website https://www.haringey.gov.uk/community/connected-communities for initial information and have activated a telephone number 020 8489 4431, (available 09:30-16:30 mon-fri) which will act as a single point of access. As well as responding to resident immediate enquires, staff will ensure appropriate support from a range of community organisations will be co-ordinated through this route.
Cllr James said:
We have been inundated with inspiring offers of help and support from local residents and communities - thank you! This says much about the wonderful borough that Haringey is.
There is clear agreement that street level support to neighbours is valuable and that residents might also want to volunteer with some of the more established groups in the borough that are having to gear up to meet expected unprecedented levels of need for services. We're lucky to have a thriving voluntary sector in the borough and need to harness people's desire to help in a productive way. The council will be playing a coordinating role and there will be a single point of access for people wanting to volunteer or wanting to report residents in need of support. We all need to work together in the next few months and hopefully we can do that for the benefit of the whole community.