Oldham’s community response has supported more than 1,900 people in emergency need during Covid 19 crisis

MORE than 1900 Oldham residents have been given vital aid and support by the Oldham Community response during the Covid 19 crisis.

The Council, Oldham Foodbank and Action Together have worked together to coordinate the delivery of emergency food and other essential personal and household basic items to vulnerable people in need, as well as running a food voucher scheme for others.

This delivery offer is for people in the local community who are genuinely in emergency need because they are self-isolating and don’t have any friends or neighbours who can support them or are unable to leave the house to shop for these items.

A helpline for people to call for help went live on Friday 27th March and since then 1200 calls have been answered with 602 people in vital need of the service being helped. The helpline (0161 770 7007) is open from 9am-5pm on weekdays and 11am to 2pm on weekends.

After calling the helpline the aim is to get back to people in 24 hours and a package is coordinated in the following days.  The food is a basic package of items and other essential such as sanitary products and basic toiletries. The delivery of prescriptions medicines is handled separately by local pharmacies who contact people on GP lists.

Community hubs have been opened across the borough where emergency food supplies have been co-ordinated. As well as the emergency food and supplies delivery offer, the hubs have ensured 1300 people have benefitted from vital food supplies after presenting food vouchers.

The hubs have also been able to link people to mutual aid, co-ordinate emergency response volunteers and act as a source of local intelligence.

And the Council, Oldham Foodbank and the voluntary sector led by Action Together have been warmed by the fact that in the vast majority of cases people have used this resource responsibly so that it doesn’t become overwhelmed and that it can give help to those who need it most.

Councillor Arooj Shah, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for Community Safety, said: “It is so important we got this service up and running quickly to help our most vulnerable who have no-one else to call upon and who need our support at this very difficult time.

“More than 1900 of our most vulnerable residents have been helped by hard working colleagues from across our partners and our thanks go out to them for all their efforts.

“Thank you as well to all the residents and local businesses that have donated items to Oldham Foodbank.

“This collective effort shows how the whole community is pulling together to help people who need it the most.”

Laura Windsor Welsh, Strategic Locality Lead for Action Together, said: “In the last few weeks we have been able to help some of the most vulnerable people in our communities affected by the impact of coronavirus.

“This help is so vital at this time, and by us working together with a huge range of our voluntary and community groups and the council, we can really make a difference where its most needed.”

“We have also been able to bring some much-needed positivity to people and over the Easter weekend a number of partners including volunteers, local councillors and GM Police delivered Easter eggs to local families and elderly people.”

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