New Community Partnerships Network launched to ensure long-term coronavirus support
A new partnership between Hackney Council and the local voluntary and community sector has been set up to ensure continued support for vulnerable residents affected by the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Called the Community Partnerships Network, the new arrangement will build on the community spirit shown in the borough during the coronavirus outbreak to provide continued and sustainable support to residents who need it, bringing together Council help for vulnerable residents with the grassroots initiatives that have given a lifeline to Hackney’s communities.
As part of a huge community effort in recent months, the Council has worked alongside local organisations and mutual aid groups to support those who need it most – including delivering up to 1,600 emergency food parcels a day to residents forced to shield or self-isolate and taking more than 5,000 calls through the coronavirus helpline, which matches requests for help with Council services or volunteer partners.
With lockdown restrictions now easing, shielding ending on 31 July and the need for food parcels reducing, the Community Partnerships Network will refocus this support in line with the changing impact of the pandemic and needs of Hackney’s most vulnerable residents, ensuring this can be maintained in the long-term.
The Community Partnerships Network will include:
- Maintaining the Council’s coronavirus helpline through which residents - or others on their behalf - can request support such as accessing food, prescriptions, befriending services, social care, or digital access.
- Working with Hackney’s community sector to help them support residents, from grants and training to logistics and storage, including a food surplus hub run by the community, accessible to any organisation offering free food.
- Continuing to match volunteers with organisations that can support those who need assistance.
- The Council and community groups working together to secure grants, funding and support for local initiatives.
- Being ready to restart emergency support in the event of new outbreaks or local lockdowns.
Partnership working has already proven successful in securing £80,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and food donations from investment bank Investec.
While the last few months have been exceptionally challenging, they have also shown Hackney at its very best, with council staff, community organisations, mutual aid and local people coming together to ensure everyone in our borough can get help when they need it.
The initial emergency may be coming to an end, but the long-term impact on our communities is just beginning. It’s vital that we don’t forget the spirit seen in recent times, but instead harness it as we work together to rebuild a better Hackney. Tackling food poverty, immediate need and access remains a priority, and the Community Partnerships Network will continue to deliver that support in a long term, sustainable way.
Our most vulnerable residents have been our number one priority during the height of the coronavirus pandemic and – by building on the collective resources of the community, working collectively to understand residents’ broader needs and making the case for investment together – the Community Partnerships Network will ensure this remains the case in the months ahead.
Residents seeking support for themselves or someone else through the Community Partnerships Network can still contact the helpline on 020 8356 3111 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or visit hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus-support