A joint initiative between East Riding of Yorkshire Council and HEY Smile Foundation has been launched today to provide additional help and support for the most vulnerable and those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A community response hub has been established which will cover the whole of the East Riding and will work alongside those existing charities, voluntary organisations and community groups as well as those groups set up on social media platforms to provide co-ordinated help and support.
For those people living on their own and following Government and NHS guidelines to self-isolate and do not have a network of family, friends, neighbours or carers to call upon, they will be able to call a dedicated telephone number to request support which could include asking for prescriptions or essential food items to be picked up or just a simple telephone call.
The initial calls will be taken by council staff who will process the request for help before forwarding the information on to the HEY Smile Foundation for their team of volunteers, who will be based at nine locations across the East Riding, to action. The dedicated telephone number is (01482) 393919 and it will be operational between 9am-9pm Monday to Friday and 9am-6pm on Saturdays and Sundays.
Email requests are also available and all emails should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
People can also make referrals via www.beecan.org.
Councillor Richard Burton, leader of East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “These are challenging and unprecedented times but the community spirit and help already going on across the East Riding is amazing to see.
“This initiative is by no means taking away what those groups already have in place but to give them support too as there are still very tough times to come where we’re all going to have to rely on each other for help.
“To ensure every resident is supported, we’ve joined forces with HEY Smile Foundation to set up this response to make sure the most vulnerable residents in our society, those who don’t have a network of people to fall back on, feel that they are supported too.
“The HEY Smile Foundation work closely with private, public and voluntary groups across the East Riding so have a network of shared resources on the ground to deliver that vital support where it’s needed which will be supported by council staff from a wide range of departments.”
Andy Barber, chief executive of HEY Smile Foundation, said: “We are all collectively wanting to ensure each resident gets the appropriate support in these extremely challenging times but we are seeing a level of community spirit that hasn’t been witnessed in years.
“Over the last few days we have been encouraging those organisations who are able to offer help to join forces with us on the Beecan website and we have been overwhelmed by the level of response.
“We have seen neighbours join forces, social media be used positively and many of the most vulnerable in our community who at times find it hard to admit they need a little help reach out.
“What is clear is this is only going to get harder, and the only way to respond is that of collaboration and generous leadership with new and existing groups, on, offline and telephone resources, local and national resources, all pulling in the same direction.”
“If you are already doing great things, and if you haven’t told us already let us know, if you want to help get in touch, but vitally if you know someone in need and you cannot help them please get in touch.”
*Any individual or organisation who wishes to offer support can register at www.beecan.org