Basildon Council’s Community Hub will run through winter until at least March 2021, as it progresses from a pandemic response unit into a single-point-of-contact service for vulnerable people—run collaboratively with Basildon borough’s community partners.
Throughout the lockdown period the Community Hub has responded to 2,422 referrals—creating a streamlined service for responding to resident’s needs. The referrals involved support with access to food, medication and other vital welfare resources.
Another 8,484 befriending calls were also made, easing social isolation and helping people through the difficultly of lockdown.
Whilst the need for food parcels and medication delivered to self-isolating and vulnerable individuals is no longer in demand—there is evidence of a greater demand for mental health services. Prolonged social isolation, risk of contracting the virus, and significant financial vulnerability as the government’s Job Retention Scheme ends are prevalent mental-health stressors.
Council officers are now working on embedding the Community Hub’s single point of contact for community services into existing council structures.
Chairman of the External Affairs and Economic Development committee, Cllr Aidan McGurran said: “Supporting our residents who need our assistance—that’s not something that we just do during a pandemic, that’s something we plan to do as long as we can.
“This decision to keep the Community Hub will enable the council to continue to provide a single point of access for support and help, whether that be services the council provides, or those of our partners. That includes our partners working in the voluntary and community sector providing mental health support—critically important right now.”
As part of the move the Council has secured external funding over recent months to support vulnerable communities negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Given the need for increasing capacity for those organisations providing mental health services, it is proposed that the Council use these existing external funds to create Basildon Mental Health Fund–to be considered by the Housing and Communities Committee, at 7:00pm on Tuesday, 15th September 2020. If approved, the funding criteria will positively weight organisations that work collaboratively, with an expectation that all recipients of this funding deliver their programme as part of the Basildon Community Hub.
Residents can contact the Community Hub as during the lockdown, via:
firstname.lastname@example.org or, 01268 533333 (choose option 1).