Community Support Briefing for Services and partners from London Borough of
This briefing summarises the help that the Council is co-ordinating in response to the
impacts of Covid 19 on our communities. The briefing is for services within the Council
(primarily via the Humanitarian Assistance Group) and also partners.
Help for the Shielded Group of residents
● Government recently asked a group of people to self isolate for medical reasons.
They have put in place a scheme to make sure that during this time they have help
with food if they need it. The food is now being delivered by government directly.
● If they also need other support, we will make a referral through the I need help
system we have set up. If you are in contact with someone on the shielded list please
refer them to the Gov.uk form to sign up for support or the Council.
● The Council will seek to ensure that those whose needs are not met through the
government provision (for example because of dietary requirements) are met by us
● We have set up an online form and referral line for those affected by coronavirus,
particularly those who are socially isolating and potentially cut off from help.
Customer Services will log issues and these are then referred to the right services
within the Council, DWP, independent advice providers or to local community and
voluntary groups. More complex needs are triaged through a multidisciplinary team
meeting. The helpline number is 020 8356 3111.
● We have set up a volunteering hub with the voluntary and community sector, so that
we can offer practical and social support to those who have been affected by
coronavirus. The hub will take referrals from the helpline or online form.
● If people want to help out as volunteers, they can register their interest via an online
form . These offers of help are being coordinated with Volunteer Centre Hackney, to
help make sure help reaches those who need it most in a safe and coordinated way,
to ensure we can support people throughout the duration of the pandemic. People
with DBS checks will be prioritised so we can meet needs quickly.
● Organisations will also request volunteers from the same page
● We have put this in place to offer additional help alongside the mutual aid groups
that are already on the ground, because we cannot rely on the neighbourly efforts
alone given the likely duration when people will be self isolating or affected in some
● Volunteer Centre Hackney, a key partner in the Volunteering Hub, have dedicated a
staff member to work with Mutual Aid groups in Hackney so that we can help support
and connect with this help. We are also going to reach out to local community
organisations to support their neighbourhood level efforts, working with the Integrated
Commissioning Neighbourhoods team.
● In addition to this, the ‘ Find support services ’ map shows organisations that are open
but providing an online or phone alternative to their usual activities in response to
● You will have seen that government also put out a call for help for volunteers to
support our residents who are on the shielded group. Once we have clarity over how
these volunteers will be managed we will do our best to involve them in our support
networks if that is most effective.
For more information on the Volunteer Hub please contact email@example.com
Status: live except for:
The request a volunteer form
Residents may want to help by donating money.
● Hackney Foodbank urgently needs donations. To donate financially visi t:
● Hackney CVS have launched Hackney Giving Coronavirus Response Fund . They
aim to raise £30k over the next 6 – 8 weeks. They will then provide grants of up to
£3,000 to groups that are working with older people and vulnerable groups that will
be disproportionately affected by the outbreak. Donations can be made online at our
Virgin Money Fundraising page: https://bit.ly/3dq6UJX
● We have been working with the food justice alliance which brings together key
organisations working to tackle food poverty. They need more volunteers and we will
try to source these through the volunteer hub. If you work with people in food poverty
and want to connect with a network you can register here:
● For children on free school meals, some schools are acting as lunch hubs for children
in receipt of free school meals; others are doing delivery / grab and go bags and the
government is going to provide schools with supermarket vouchers for families in
Supporting the Food Poverty network
● They also need help with coordination and capacity and we are working with them to
improve this and come up with a more sustainable offer to tackle the increase in food
insecurity and poverty.
Status: recommendations currently being agreed
Support for those who are laid off / made redundant
● Our Employment and Skills service are flexing their offer to advise people who have
been laid off or made redundant. There are contact details on the website or the
tele phone number is here: 020 8356 5700.
Understanding the cumulative impact on communities
We are very concerned about the risks arising from the way Covid 19 is impacting on our
everyday lives and the knock on impacts. One of our biggest concerns is that there are
groups who are already vulnerable who will become more vulnerable and that the group of
residents who are vulnerable will grow as they are laid off, made redundant, or lose
business. The Council is building a picture of the knock on or cumulative impacts to inform
our immediate response and inform our plans around recovery. You can send a summary of
impacts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Overall leads Stephen Haynes / Simon Galczynski
Shielded group Contacting shielded residents: Matt Cain
Food depot and deliveries: Bruce Deville
Helpline and triage Matt Cain
Civil society support
Employment support Andrew Munk
Understanding vulnerability and
Matt Cain / Sonia Khan
Key Covid Roles:
Sandra Husbands – Public Health Lead
Rob Miller – Resilience / Covid Lead
Sonia Khan – Community engagement
Polly Cziok – Comms
Gerry McCarthy – Community Safety
Dan Paul – HR policy and engagement with the Unions
Stephen Haynes and Bruce Devile – Shielding / food supplies
Anne Canning – communications with Faith and other key communities; safeguarding
Aled Richards – Excess deaths
Why we are offering this support and co-ordination
● We want to put in place a response that is sustainable and future proofed as the
situation evolves. We have been building a picture of types of residents who might
be vulnerable and of their support needs so we can get the right support to them.
● There is also a group who are being asked to stay at home for 12 weeks; they
need food and will be isolated. We have been asked by government to contact
them to co-ordinate delivery of food parcels if they need them and also find out if
they have other needs.
● There are many grassroots groups that have been set up in the last ten days to
reach out to residents and offer help. This effort has been incredible and our
priority is to offer more capacity and make sure that it reaches our most
● We need to make sure volunteering efforts keep people safe and are in line
with social distancing, and we have put advice in place about this on our
● There is also an active network of organisations including faith groups that are
tackling food poverty that are doing their best to meet needs, but have seen
volunteering numbers drop and are struggling to bulk buy food- we need to support
● Meeting the needs of vulnerable groups is going to take more than just a response
from civil society – we need government to continue to take action, building on
pledges that have already been made and for statutory partners to play their role
● We are trying where possible to utilise and redeploy existing resources (grants,
people’s time, volunteers)
● This is why we have stood up, as part of our emergency planning response, a
Humanitarian Assistance Group which brings together Council services to ensure
coordination of help and support
● The voluntary sector is key to this effort and have also been impacted
substantially, in terms of loss of income, disruption of services and staff and
volunteer sickness. By involving them proactively in the delivery of the services
outlined above, we are supporting them and creating a role as well as helping them
to recruit more volunteers. We are also offering the following:
○ We have suspended rents for our VCS tenants within our own property
portfolio for three months and we have been in contact with all our VCS
organisations that have an existing grant relationship with us (commissioned
or grant funded) to relax the terms of their grant funding in line with the
London Funders pledge.
○ We are also looking at repurposing existing sources of funding such as our
existing community grants
○ The Hackney Giving programme led by HCVS has already been repurposed
to go towards supporting those organisations facing immediate financial
pressures due to Coronavirus.
○ We continue to work with the voluntary sector and with funders to identify
further impacts and mitigation needed