CCL’s response to Covid-19
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck last year, Age UK Lewisham’s previous Community Connections and Lewisham SAIL (Safe & Independent Living) projects were immediately repurposed into the COVID-19 Emergency Response Hub. This period saw us working in direct partnership with Lewisham Council, Lewisham Foodbank, Voluntary Services Lewisham (VSL) and Lewisham Local.
From the 20th March until the end of August 2020 the Response Hub provided vital support to those worst hit by the effects of lockdown. Our role in it was to run a phone support line, open 7 days a week from 9am-5pm, over which we received an average of 800 calls per week in the first three months and responded to over 11,000 requests for help in total. Almost 60% of calls we received related to food support, to which we responded by arranging the delivery of food hampers to shielding households, and emergency foodbank parcels to those struggling financially. Another key issue we addressed over the phone line was the increased experience of loneliness and isolation during lockdown, resulting in a total of 268 callers being referred for weekly telephone ‘befriending’ from VSL volunteers. Other types of support included practical assistance with needs such as the delivery of medication and electric and gas top ups, and signposting callers to free mental health services.
Needless to say, this was an extremely busy and challenging period for our team, requiring us to adapt to frequent changes in how the pandemic was being responded to on both a national and local level. It was crucial for us to stay continually updated on statutory changes to the rules around shielding, and to new developments in local services such as the introduction of the Lewisham Local Practical Assistance Scheme. In response to the huge demand for support, our team also provided induction training and ongoing support to a total of 31 additional staff members who had been redeployed from their normal roles within Lewisham Council.
Using what we learned from the COVID Hub, and looking towards recovery, Community Connections and SAIL were then merged into Community Connections Lewisham, launched at the start of September 2020. The phone line that was so integral to the COVID Hub’s success has remained a part of CCL, so that residents have a reliable way to access quick over the phone support from our dedicated and expert team.
Watch the Lewisham Covid-19 Response Hub Video:
Volunteering at vaccination centres in Lewisham? Watch our instructional video here.
If you need information regarding COVID’s impact on life in Lewisham, please visit this Council information page. Alternatively, you can email the Council’s COVID team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them on 020 8314 3535.
Looking for employment, financial or benefits advice? Call the Lewisham Advice Line on 0800 231 5453.