Hartlepool Support Hub praised for their work in response to Covid-19

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Support hub staff in Hartlepool are aiming to provide a ‘front door’ to services for vulnerable people heading into next year, after being praised for their work in response to Covid-19.

Hartlepool Support Hub was established in response to the Covid-19 pandemic to support individuals who were shielding, vulnerable and in self-isolation

Council officers reported the hub has been carrying out a lot of work around supporting those suffering from isolation and mental ill health during the second lockdown, to build on their initial work.

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From November 5 to 27, the hub received 366 calls, which officers noted was low compared to the first lockdown, however they made almost 1,000 calls to those identified as needing the extra support.

Hartlepool Civic CentreHartlepool Civic Centre
Hartlepool Civic Centre

Around 50 hot meals have also been delivered daily in partnership with Mecca Bingo whilst they have been unable to reopen to the public.

A robust plan is being developed to support those most vulnerable across the Christmas period, which will include distribution of gifts, food hampers and a hot Christmas meal for those who otherwise would not get one.

Gemma Ptak, council assistant director for preventative and community based services, said it is part of the latest plans for the hub which will act as ‘the front door’ to support services going forward.

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She said: “We’ve got a plan in place to support those most in need over Christmas. We know it’s going to be an extremely challenging time for some people, so our services will be operating as much as we can over that period.

“Moving into 2021 we are exploring how we will become the front door to adult social care to ensure that we can provide a real quality of support.

“This is so that people are safe and well, but we also ensure a quality of life and we try and do that through a community led offer, as well as a social care offer.”

The hub has also provided on average three to five food parcels a week, on an emergency basis to those in need, while officers noted a lot of work has taken place to ensure everyone had access to food.

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It comes after during the first lockdown the hub received 11,131 and made 26,160 calls to those in need, along with delivering 2,269 food parcels and 2,325 prescriptions.

Moving forward the hub will have a specific focus on digital inclusion, positive mental health, social engagement and wellbeing planning for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

It comes after it was noted by Ms Ptak these were some of the areas where they saw the most demand during the second wave of the pandemic.

She said: “A lot of the demand we’ve seen coming through in the second lockdown has been around isolation and ill mental health.

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“We’ve been able to support people to get access to specialist services where needed, signpost out to other services, but also we’ve created quite a significant social and digital inclusion package to make sure people are able to stay connected.”

The update was provided to the latest meeting of the Hartlepool outbreak control engagement working group, with the efforts of the team praised by councillors.

Cllr Shane Moore, Hartlepool Borough Council leader, said: “It’s plain to see for everybody the absolute benefits that we were able to deliver with the support hub, especially during the first lockdown period.

“The positives to come out of all this madness this year is we have been able to progress with a lot of the support hub stuff, and the schemes that we will be able to progress moving forward with, and carry those on.

“It will enhance the service that we’re able to give to the most vulnerable people as we need to.”

Cllr Brenda Harrison added: “The work that’s been done throughout this period to help our most vulnerable people has been very commendable, and long may it continue.”

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