Good news stories – Communities and organisations together
Celebrating volunteers in Somerset
Somerset Charity Praises Village Agents for COVID-19 Response
Somerset charity CCS (The Community Council for Somerset) has made a short film to recognise and thank its Agents, who are working hard on the ground to keep vulnerable people safe and well during the COVID-19 emergency. CCS Village, Community and Carers Agents have been providing support for individuals and communities in Somerset since 2012 and are well placed to adapt their services to provide much needed help and support now, and in the months ahead.
On the 23rd of March, the start of the lockdown, CCS launched a county-wide universal referral link which within four weeks received over 32,000 enquiries.
As Village Agent Julie says: “The past four weeks have been absolutely MANIC!”
Caroline Harding, CCS Agent Manager, says: “I am in awe of the phenomenal way that our Agents are responding to the need of those who contact us for help. The speed with which they are dealing with enquiries, the care and understanding, the enthusiasm is second to none. They are all working from home, with challenging work environments themselves, yet have adapted to meet the needs of others.”
CCS Agents are working extremely closely with both the health services and social care to broker a range of support, phoning people to check on their welfare and connecting residents with local support groups. Many messages of thanks have come flooding in from people, CCS Agents have helped with deliveries of food and medication, advice on benefits and paying bills and the provision of hot meals. Thanks to the timely intervention of a CCS Agent and the ambulance service, an elderly resident in West Somerset received the urgent help they needed following a fall.
In all of this, CCS Agents recognise and applaud the incredible ‘army’ of local volunteers they work alongside who are doing a fantastic job. The level of goodwill and the number of communities coming together to support each other at such a challenging time is overwhelming.
As CCS Village Agent Steve says: “Ordinary people have done extraordinary things.”
Raj Singh, CCS Deputy Chief Executive, says: “Communities are doing a great job at looking out for each other across Somerset. Let’s dig deep now and look for those people that may have been forgotten.”
Keeley Rudd, CCS Chief Executive, says: “We wanted to make a short film to say a huge thank you to our Agents for the incredible work they are doing. During this unprecedented time the calls to our services and out to members of the community to provide help, support and advice run into thousands on a weekly basis and the demand is increasing. All Agents (and other staff within CCS) are working extremely hard and, despite the volume, are managing to provide the same professional and personalised help and support and are receiving some fantastic feedback.”
CCS is asking everyone to watch the short film and to make some noise during Thursday’s ‘Clap For Our Carers’ for the Village Agents and all frontline key workers who are playing a crucial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
To find out more about the work of the CCS Village Agents visit their website
Adapting and supporting Carers during the coronavirus Pandemic
Good News Story from Somerset NHS Foundation Trust Carers Assessment Service
In this story Somerset NHS Foundation Trust explain how their carers assessment service service has risen to the challenge of continuing to support carers during the Corona virus pandemic.
Phone assessment and support
The team have continued to work tirelessly, from home during April offering carers telephone assessments and support. They have also provided an enhanced telephone support service to those carers who are most vulnerable and isolated. Alongside regular welfare calls to carers this means that carers can contact their Carers Assessment Worker as and when they feel they need additional support.
On an average week during April the 14 team members have provided telephone support and assessments to 180 carers, there has also been additional support through text and emails. The service also ensures that carers are kept up to date on what services are currently available to them across the county.
‘I have contacted carers reminding them the carer’s allotment project is on hold owing to COVID-19 lockdown however; I have asked for their ideas and planning of what they would like the allotment to become. What fruit and veg they would like to grow and planning of activities on the allotment. Two carers are donating gardening tools and pots towards the project. Feedback from carers has been very positive regarding the allotment project.’
Somerset Partnership Carers Groups
Although the carers groups are unable to meet in their usual settings the team are facilitating other options for the carers to stay in touch for example, the Chard group and the Taunton craft group are having Zoom meetings monthly
‘Regular contact roughly every 2 weeks via text with the craft group which has 11 members. 4 members of the craft group joined a Zoom craft group last Wednesday which went well especially since it was our first time doing it , we are planning on holding another zoom craft group in May. One carer tried Zoom for the first time with us and was so pleased with how it worked and gained confidence in using it she is now taking it back to her family so she can use it with her children and grandchildren.
Most of the carers I have spoken to have been happy to have someone to talk to and are appreciative of someone checking in with them in these difficult times.’
Minehead group are also going to be having an online platform to meet virtually
15 carers who normally attend the monthly Taunton Carer’s Group are now contacted via group text, (and landline where no mobile is held) on a weekly basis to offer support where needed. Emails, text and phone contact sent to carers not involved in the Taunton Carer’s Group to remind them we are still available for support. Text sent to carer’s involved in Taunton carer’s Group asking for their feedback if they would be interested in involvement with a social media platform for the group where there could be group participation like a quiz or sharing new hobbies/skills learned during to coronavirus lockdown.
Two carers have started craft making (one card making the other knitting items) for a Taunton carer’s stall event near Christmas time, so the Taunton carer’s Group can raise funds for Friends of Somerset Carers Network (FOSCN).
Wells memory loss carers group are contacted individually every month on the day of the meeting for a welfare call by the Carers Assessment Worker.
Wells carers group are offering peer support to each other facilitated by the Carers Assessment Worker
Other carers groups are also looking into ways of staying in touch.
Find out more about the Somerset Partnership Mental Health Team
VE Day celebrations 11 May 2020
A number of our Extra Care Housing Scheme organised some ‘Socially Distanced’ VE Day Celebrations.
Way Ahead Care
About Way Ahead Care
Way Ahead Care is a family run care provider, that has been delivering a community based care service for over 25 years. Along with Home Care and Live-in Care services Way Ahead Care works in partnership with Somerset County Council and social landlords to support tenants within 7 Extra Care Housing Schemes throughout Taunton Deane and Sedgemoor. With a dedicated staffing team in each scheme, Way Ahead Care helps promote the independence of the tenant group living within each scheme.
More information about Way Ahead Care
Phone: 01823 321123