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Council staff lend a helping hand at new food distribution hub

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More than 200 redeployed workers from Dudley Council are joining community volunteers to help vulnerable people from across the borough by providing a range of support services including a new food distribution hub.

Some council staff had already been working with Dudley CVS to help existing community volunteers deliver food and medicines to those in need and had also made nearly 3000 phone calls to vulnerable people to assess what support they need. In response to a greater need, the council has redeployed some of these 200 staff to support a new large-scale food distribution hub which opened this week. Other staff are continuing to support both the volunteer effort and are supporting colleagues in different services across the authority.

The team of redeployed staff are co-ordinating large scale food distribution efforts in partnership with Dudley CVS and the Black Country Foodbank. They are taking charge of stock, co-ordinating deliveries, packing up parcels and delivering them to vulnerable residents. Staff are also making calls to assess people’s needs and signposting to relevant services.

Staff from teams including school catering services, housing, highways, leisure centres, drivers and back office teams have been drafted in to support the coronavirus effort, giving anything from a few spare hours of their working week to being deployed full-time.

Residents of all ages who are staying at home as they are more vulnerable to the impact of Covid 19 or are self -isolating and have no family or community support, or struggling financially can contact 01384 573381 Monday to Friday from 9.30am - 12.30pm to arrange for a food parcel to be delivered. (From 18 May this number will change to 0300 3302 152).

The service is open to younger people, working people and families too if they are in need

Older people who require advice about other services available to them, or who are just feeling lonely or isolated can still call the Pleased to Meet You helpline on 01384 812761. The helpline offers older people and younger adults who have a disability, a “listening ear” and someone to talk to about their worries. It runs Monday to Friday 9 am – 4 pm.

Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council:

While as a council we are very much supporting at the front line, some of our staff have found their normal roles changed as a result of the pandemic. They’ve shown that they are really keen to provide essential support to colleagues and their communities in other ways. Some have been redeployed full time, but a lot are still doing their day job on slightly reduced hours and are fitting this in on the few hours they have to spare either side of their normal working day.
I’m really proud of our staff who have shown how adaptable they are and how every one of us can play our part and make a difference during this challenging time.

Jen Coleman, chief executive officer, Black Country Foodbank said:

It has been good to work together for the benefit of the community particularly in these difficult times.

Andy Gray, chief executive Dudley CVS said:

Working with our volunteers to support people across Dudley has always been at the heart of what we do, and our communities have never needed us more.
It’s been wonderful to see how many people have been keen to volunteer and do whatever they can to help those in need. We’ve had so many people sign up with offers of help, and it’s been a really positive experience to collaborate with the council, Black Country Foodbank, Citizens Advice Dudley and our volunteers to create the food hub.
Everyone has been so enthusiastic and supportive and we’ve all pulled together to find the best solution for all of those in need.

To find out how to contribute to the Black Country Foodbank including how to donate food or funds visit https://www.blackcountryfoodbank.org.uk/ 

To find out how to become part of the borough’s wider volunteer effort, register with on the Dudley CVS website http://dudleycvsreview.org/covid-19-community-action-and-support/

To register as a vulnerable person visit https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-extremely-vulnerable

 

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