Thu, 19 Mar 2020
A NUMBER of organisations from across West Berkshire have come together to offer help and support to residents during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
West Berkshire Council has teamed up with the voluntary and charity sectors to launch a Community Support Hub where people can go for advice and information.
The aim of the hub is to try to keep people updated on the situation and let them know what they can do and where they can get help if they need it.
The hub has also been set up to ensure that the district’s elderly and most vulnerable residents have access to food, medication and anything else they need.
Organisations including Newbury Soup Kitchen, West Berkshire Foodbank, Citizens Advice West Berkshire, the Community Furniture Project, Volunteer Centre West Berkshire, Healthwatch West Berkshire, Greenham Trust and Newbury Weekly News are all involved.
The initial meeting of the community hub was held on Monday and the group intend to convene every Monday going forward to discuss how best to communicate with residents.
A dedicated website has been set up at https://info.westberks.gov.uk/coronavirus and there is also a telephone number people can call if they need to – (01635) 503579.
Those wishing to volunteer their time or services can also call this number and they will be directed to whichever organisation or area is relevant.
However, this number should not be called by anyone seeking medical advice or displaying symptoms.
Greenham Trust chief executive Chris Boulton, who helped set up the hub, said: “As things linked to coronavirus continued to unfold last weekend, it became clear to me that we needed to help mobilise the charitable sector in West Berkshire, including Greenham Trust, to work collaboratively with the council to support those who will be most vulnerable over the next few weeks and months.
“There was a tremendous response from local charities and voluntary organisations to a call for a meeting on Monday evening and from that the Community Support Hub was formed.
“This hub will now meet weekly in order to help guide and assist those who can provide help in the most productive ways possible.”
In addition, a number of community groups have been formed across the district – many of them on Facebook – which are also offering help to the most isolated.
So far, three coronavirus cases have been confirmed in West Berkshire.
Picture shows Volunteer Centre West Berkshire director Garry Poulson, Newbury Weekly News editor Andy Murrill, West Berkshire Council chief executive Nick Carter, Greenham Trust chief executive Chris Boulton, West Berkshire Council leader Lynne Doherty and Newbury Weekly News news editor Dan Cooper who met on Tuesday to discuss the Community Support Hub