Letchworth community unites to launch coronavirus response service

PUBLISHED: 17:23 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 17:23 23 March 2020

Letchworth's main organisations have launched the new initiative. Picture: Danny Loo

Letchworth's main organisations have launched the new initiative. Picture: Danny Loo

Danny Loo Photography 2017

Letchworth’s largest organisations and charities have joined forces to launch a new Community Response Service dedicated to supporting those worst impacted by coronavirus.

North Herts District Council, The Heritage Foundation, Settle, First Garden Cities Homes, North Herts CVS, Letchworth Churches and Citizens Advice North Herts, have teamed up to create a ‘one-town’ response to the crisis.

Smaller community groups have also thrown their weight behind the scheme, ensuring that the most vulnerable and isolated Letchworthians can access food and medical supplies – as well as guidance on health, finance, and how to avoid scams.

Stuart Sapsford, executive director of communities, culture and heritage at the Heritage Foundation said: “People are understandably worried about what will happen over the coming weeks. This fear is leading people to panic buy, which means some of the most isolated people are going without basic provisions.

“Alongside this, folk may not be aware of important public health advice. That’s why we at the Foundation have teamed up with our town’s largest organisations to see what we can do collectively.

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“The response has been incredible – everyone has stepped up to ensure the Letchworth community has a service in place.”

As part of the Community Response Service, a new helpline has been launched for those who are isolated, or who have limited social networks and are struggling to access essential resources.

This is being operated by Heritage Foundation staff who have been redeployed following the temporary closure of some of its venues and services last week. Other staff are helping with a shopping and delivery service, and with follow-up ‘befriending’ telephone calls.

Stuart continued: “Our team have shown fantastic commitment to working flexibly and are eager to do what they can to help those finding self-isolation and social distancing difficult.

“Staff at our partner organisations have been equally impressive, responding quickly and effectively to get a service in place. Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to do any of this.”

Residents who feel they would benefit from the service are encouraged to ask for help via the dedicated helpline on 01462 530360, which is open from 8am to 8pm (Monday to Friday), and 9am to 5pm (Saturday and Sunday).

The team can also be contacted via email at support@letchworth.com.

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