Let’s Talk – supporting vulnerable Council residents through the coronavirus pandemic

One month since it’s launch, nearly 400 elderly and vulnerable Council tenants are receiving help, advice or simply a friendly chat through Let’s Talk – an initiative to ensure that self-isolation doesn’t mean social isolation for Council residents during the coronavirus emergency.

With thousands of Council residents asked to shield or self-isolate by the NHS during the lockdown due to their age or medical reasons, and many more other vulnerable residents living in Council homes, Let’s Talk was set up to give people feeling lonely, stressed or anxious the chance to speak to someone about how they’re coping.

Hundreds of these residents chose to sign up to the programme, allowing them to raise any concerns they have accessing food, prescriptions or other support that they need, or set up a regular phone call with someone to chat about their week.

Lena Jenkins (66) from Stoke Newington, who has been shielding due to underlying health conditions, has been receiving regular phone calls through the project after her mum passed away. Ms Jenkins said: “My mum died on 12 March and she and I lived together. I now get calls checking to see if I'm ok and how I’m coping.

“Siovhan from the Let’s Talk team has been really nice. She phones me every couple of weeks to talk through things and explain stuff to me, saying ‘stick in there, don’t worry, you’re going to be ok’. It’s been really positive. She’s done a really good job and I owe her a lot.

“I think it’s really lovely – it’s a wonderful thing that they’ve been doing.”

Daphne Godfrey (78) has been self-isolating with her husband in her Council home in Stoke Newington for the last seven weeks. She said: “I’m lucky that I’ve got my husband with me so I’m not on my own, but since I had a letter from the NHS I have had to stay inside for seven weeks – I wish I could just go to the supermarket to have a walk around.

Cllr Clayeon McKenzie, Cabinet Member for Housing Services
During this hugely challenging time our number one priority is making sure that vulnerable residents have the support they need. Often this means help with food, finances or healthcare, but just as important can be a regular chat and a friendly voice on the other end of the phone as we all adapt to the emotional challenges the pandemic has brought.
Cllr Clayeon McKenzie, Cabinet Member for Housing Services

Let’s Talk was launched by the Council’s resident participation service – a team normally out and about helping residents set up community groups, organise events or make improvements on their estates, but now working remotely to help and support Council residents during the pandemic.

If you or someone you know is a Hackney Council resident and could benefit from Let's Talk, contact the resident participation team on get.involved@hackney.gov.uk or 0208 356 7845.