Council's 40,000-plus phone calls to vulnerable people during Coronavirus pandemic

Civic Centre

Over 40,000 welfare calls have been made to vulnerable people in the last four months by Runnymede Borough Council staff to support local residents throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Whilst continuing to operate essential services, since 27 March the Council has been checking on the needs of thousands of residents, answering their questions, arranging food parcels, delivering prescriptions and providing a friendly voice to those most in need.

The authority has been working in collaboration with Voluntary Support North Surrey, Runnymede Foodbank and over 500 community volunteers in order to co-ordinate the best approach to serving the community and maximising resources to help those most in need.

As well as making 40,000 outgoing phone calls, Council staff have separately also received 33,893 incoming calls from other members of the public asking questions, or who have  needed help and advice.

The statistics come following an online meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, where councillors reviewed the organisation's performance since the pandemic began.

Tina O'Connell, from Chertsey, said: "I want to thank you personally from myself and my mother on how you have checked up on her during the COVID-19 pandemic. I can not praise your council enough for the reassurance your checks have given myself and my mum. Your calls were truly a saving grace and your staff were so uplifting in tough times."

The Council's support has also included:

  • Delivering 16,728 meals as part of our existing meals at home service
  • 1,063 referrals to the Runnymede foodbank
  • Collecting and delivering 238 prescriptions, vital for people's health (since April 24).
  • Providing 174 referrals for bespoke shopping vouchers
  • Posting 227 coronavirus related Facebook updates

Councillor Nick Prescott, Leader of the Council, has said: "The way in which Council staff and volunteers from the community have stepped up and worked together during this crisis has been wonderful to see and I thank everyone all for the hard work so far. I'm proud of our staff, and the amount of time and effort volunteers have given has been magnificent. It has been rewarding to see so many parts of the Borough working together for the good of the most vulnerable.

"One of our core aims is to support local people, and residents should feel protected and secure living in our Borough as we continue to do our utmost to ensure safety. The pandemic is not over and I would still urge everyone to behave sensibly and keep their distance when they can, even as Government restrictions ease further."

Further statistic presented to councillors at the committee meeting showed how £12.498 million of the Government's business support grants have been distributed by council staff to 991 local businesses, enabling many to continue to operate and going some way towards improving our economy.

The Council is aware that the Coronavirus is still an issue and staff are still here to support local people if needed. Please direct anyone you know who may be in need to extra assistance through this unprecedented time to our online form or pass on our phone number 01932 838383 and continue to follow the latest government guidance.