At the Council’s cabinet this week, held virtually for the first time due to lockdown, we reported on how the Council has responded to COVID-19 across the city.
We have prioritised support for those who need us most, by giving £2.4 million to our communities to help people of all ages who need our care or are vulnerable.
We’ve set up community response teams to make sure that people are kept safe and well and supported through this time, both practically and emotionally for their well-being. These teams are coordinating support across the city to meet the needs of individuals and families.
With over 250 officers trained and deployed to support critical services, officers from the Council have put in hundreds of extra hours to provide much needed support. Those who are usually office-based have delivered over 600 emergency food parcels, helped over 900 households with personal shopping and collected and delivered essential medications for over 500 households.
Over 4000 calls have been made to social care providers to offer them advice and support where needed and we’ve distributed an average of more than 330,000 items of PPE per week with 85% going to Independent Care Providers.
George Lindars-Hammond, Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care at Sheffield City Council said: “I personally could not be more proud of all the people who have risen to this enormous challenge. They have stepped in when needed and they are saving lives.”
To make sure that the needs of those providing care are met, we have introduced a dedicated helpline staffed by Community Support Workers who are triaging enquiries, so that people get the right service first time. Between the helpline being set up and 10th May, it took approximately 8000 calls.
With over 111 care homes in Sheffield ensuring that our most vulnerable residents receive the best possible care, we have continued to work closely with our health partners to an agreed plan that care homes across the city have welcomed. We continue to make sure that staff in these homes are also supported with the right equipment and the right help they need to cope with the stress they face at work due to COVID-19.
George added: “Our care homes across the city are all working as hard as possible and we thank them for everything they are doing to minimise the impact of COVID-19. We’ve promised that care homes will receive additional funding and our priority is to make sure that all our care homes cope with this situation as best they can.”
We’ve continued to provide services to those who are experiencing domestic abuse by working extremely closely with voluntary and public sector partners including South Yorkshire Police to ensure that support is still available for those who need it. Helplines have been operating, refuges have remained open, the police have been responding and online reporting options and webchat have been expanded to make it easier for people to access services.
In response to the pandemic and social distancing guidance, the Voluntary, Community and Faith community organisations that deliver ‘People Keeping Well’ have moved quickly to protect the people they support and their staff.
Dementia workers have been making regular keep-in-touch calls, posting out dementia-friendly activity packs, linking people to Community Hubs for practical support and Sheffield Carers Centre for carer support, and even arranging memory cafés on Zoom with singers, entertainment, information and live chair-based exercise. A pilot service has been launched for GPs to be able to refer people with undiagnosed or higher needs dementia for a short term service through a period of crisis and we’re working closely with NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group as part of our dementia commissioning arrangements.
The Carer’s Centre has continued to support carers throughout and just under 200 carers were identified as those carers we were most concerned about. Locality Social Care staff have called all these carers to ensure ‘they were ok’ ‘had a contingency plan’ ‘knew where to get support from the Council and Carers Centre’ and ‘let them know about the new keep in touch service’.
Working in partnership with local charities we have delivered over 4000 hot meals to rough sleepers and homeless people isolating in emergency accommodation, and keeping people safe in our hostels.
Our Mental Health Services and Approved Mental Health Professionals have continued to deliver crisis support direct to people in the community or who need emergency care.
The Sheffield City Council Drug and Alcohol Service has pulled out the stops for people to be able to maintain their treatment and get medicines whilst on lockdown, and it has also helped more people who are coming forward for help as a result of the lockdown.
George said: “What strikes me so clearly about all this incredible work is just how well people and organisations from every sector have worked together so successfully and quickly to mobilise our city in its fight against COVID-19. Every single person who is part of this work has helped us to continue essential services, to provide safe and effective care and to support those most in need.”