For the past month the Humber Local Resilience (LRF) forum has been bringing key organisations from the public and private sectors together to co-ordinate the response to COVID-19 across Humberside.
The daily meetings provide a forum for all agencies involved in the response to come together to identify any gaps or issues in local support and work together to address these needs.
Some of the areas of work being co-ordinated by the Humber LRF are the co-ordination and oversight of:
- testing arrangements for key workers
- local management and distribution of personal protective equipment for all the key workers who require it
- the community hubs, put in place to support those who require shielding or extra help during the crisis.
LRF Chair Chris Blacksell said,
“The benefit of working in this way is that with everyone in the (virtual) room at the same time every day, we can always find a way forward, whatever problem we are trying to solve. We have the decision-makers on hand and the full force of the public sector to call upon, with significant extra support and resources from some key private sector organisations.
“Some of the issues we are working on are extremely complex. For example, we are currently working through arrangements for how we will put an additional Covid testing site in place to carry out 1750 tests for key workers with symptoms every day.
“We are also now co-ordinating the distribution of the PPE that is so vital to keeping our key workers safe. We’ve all heard that nationally and internationally this has been a huge challenge. As the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, has confirmed today there is less PPE in the world than the world needs, but we have been working hard for the key workers in Humber area to ensure, if we possibly can, that the right equipment is there when they need it.
“This is an example of where we’ve had some really crucial support from our partners in the private sector, with Howden’s Joinery providing the warehousing space to keep stock which we have recently had delivered from the national stockpile. While that stock does not include every type of PPE needed in the area, we can now get some items out to places, such as care homes and pharmacies, that have an urgent need for the PPE that is recommended by Public Health England.
“One of the most impressive examples of private and public sector partners coming together is the Community Hubs. We’ve seen a phenomenal effort to put everything in place to support those in our communities who need it most.
“The Community Hubs are being led and co-ordinated in each area by Local Authorities with support from many voluntary, charity and public sector organisations.
“The speed and scale of this effort has been impressive and this is a credit to all those involved, from the four local authorities in the Humber area, to the business community, who through the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) have already provided significant support.
“We have worked through the LEP to ask local businesses to support these efforts in a range of ways and they have already risen to this challenge, providing locations for storage of supplies, help with transporting the supplies to those who need them and many pledges of household items and non-perishable foods.
“I ask that any local business who can help with this effort to support vulnerable people in our communities to come forward and contact us through the LEP as your help will be warmly welcomed. This is a new initiative and we’re looking for as much help as we can get from those businesses that are able to assist.
“There are thousands of people who are being supported across the Humber region who are shielding or simply need some extra support. The sort of help they are receiving can be anything food shopping to medical supplies or personal care.
“We do not want anyone who is isolating and feeling worried or vulnerable to feel like they cannot ask. My message to these people is that you are isolating but you are not alone. Please contact your local hub through your Local Authority if you need support you haven’t been able to get and we will help you if we can.
“Of course, it’s not just about the organisations. There are a great many individuals and groups of people across Humberside who are helping others in their communities. We are seeing some exceptional examples of kindness and good citizenship at the moment with people working both formally and informally as volunteers to support their neighbourhoods and communities.
“I would encourage anyone who does want to volunteer within their local community, to do this through their local authority. There are a wide range of ways in which people can help. We are particularly looking for anyone with adult social care skills and experience.