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Response centres lead the way in supporting residents

03 July 2020

Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates

Given the pace of change of information, please access the latest information on our Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

A team in a response centre's packing area.

Thousands of vulnerable residents have been supported during the coronavirus pandemic through the borough's 5 local response centres.

The virtual hubs cover Rochdale, Pennines, Heywood and Middleton and have offered essential support to a range of vulnerable residents and families who are in need of support and may be socially isolated.

Teams of council staff, volunteers and local organisations including Action Together, Healthwatch Rochdale, Rochdale Borough Housing and Link4Life have organised daily deliveries of food supplies, medicines and other essential items to those most in need.

To date, the response centres have:

  • Made over 3,000 calls to shielded residents.
  • Delivered nearly 1,900 emergency food parcels to shielded and non-shielded residents.
  • Made 500 shopping trips for vulnerable residents.
  • Contacted 1,400 vulnerable families to offer help and support.
  • Provided ongoing daily support to 200 residents, with around 300 supported at the peak. The support includes help with shopping, medication and welfare calls.
  • Coordinated the supply and delivery of emergency supplies and signposted to voluntary groups and other services.

Tracey Knight, a council member of staff who has worked at the Pennines' response centre throughout the pandemic, said: "It has been a privilege to be part of the community hubs. The emotional rewards from helping and supporting people have been considerable. It has been a great example of partnership working, with many local food suppliers all playing their part and helping out those residents most in need."

She added: "I think the community support for many residents has provided a vital lifeline at a really difficult time. On a personal level it has given me so much more confidence in my own ability and this is something that I would want to continue to do throughout the recovery phase and beyond. I'm really proud of our council and community and I'm looking forward to a time where we can celebrate our successes together as a whole team."

The voluntary sector have played a key part in the partnership work. Kerry Bartram, strategic locality lead for Action Together, said: "The local response centres have provided a virtual space and place for people to support people. Services, charities, volunteers, neighbours, mutual aid groups and faith based organisations are connected here and work together to meet the needs of people who live in the neighbourhoods.

"Through these connections, the centres provide in depth and rich knowledge of community offers, local business offers, specialist services and a friendly listening ear to those who are experiencing adversity. Not only responding to need, the response centres are strengthening the fabric of communities, together."

Harriet Morley, an apprentice with the council, has helped to deliver 400 emergency food parcels. She said: "The response has been overwhelmingly positive from people on the doorsteps. People have been so grateful, especially shielding residents who have been unable to leave the house for weeks."

Harriet added: "One resident hadn't been able to get to the shops for several weeks so called the council's contact centre asking for help. We were able to get her an emergency food parcel, delivered to her door less than an hour after she called, and she was so thankful for the help we were able to provide. It's been totally different to my usual role and has been a humbling experience."

Councillor Allen Brett, leader of the council, said: "As council leader I am very proud of the inspiring service our response centres have delivered for some of our most vulnerable residents. We established a vital support network from day one of the crisis and this has provided a lifeline, especially for older and shielded residents. We have overcome many challenges but the hard work is ongoing will remain in place for weeks and months to come. I want to thank everyone who has played their part, as it has been a really strong partnership approach embracing many sectors across the borough. It's showcased the borough and our pioneering approach to delivering services at its very best."

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