Pukaar Magazine

Social care for thousands during lockdown

The city council’s adult social care unit has been contacting high-risk citizens to provide support during the coronavirus lockdown.

Social care staff have made calls to more than 1,600 people to ensure that they have access to food, required medication, and to also provide much needed social contact. The team have also been providing advice and help to carers on how to stay safe whilst providing care, the best ways to procure personal protective equipment or PPE, and also advice on claiming additional benefits. 

For those members of society that cannot attend a day centre, special arrangements have been made. More than 300 welfare calls have been made to the families of people with complex needs that would usually attend 

Special arrangements have been made to support people who cannot attend a day centre. More than 300 welfare calls have been made to the families of people with complex needs that usually attend the council’s Hastings Road Day Centre. 

The council says that this is all done on top of the department’s regular work schedule which includes the provision of support to nearly 1,000 people who are living in residential care, and also helping nearly 500 people with learning disabilities and mental health issues.

The council is also helping people to get home from hospital when needed, and direct personal care to those that need it, all whilst ensuring the use of PPE.

Due to the high demand for care workers, a recruitment campaign has been developed, and city council staff from other areas have been trained to provide extra caring support. Nearly 180 volunteers have also been trained and recruited to help in care homes, with call-handling, and with driving and providing at-home care.

Deputy city mayor Cllr Sarah Russell, who leads on social care, said: “I’m tremendously proud of the way our social care staff have responded to the coronavirus crisis, quietly and confidently getting on with their jobs. They’ve gone above and beyond to meet the challenges of this lockdown, while continuing their ‘business as usual’.

 “As well as the extra support they are providing, they have ensured that crisis responses and safeguarding concerns raised about adults or children during the lockdown have been addressed promptly and rigorously. They know it’s crucial to provide support to our most vulnerable residents at this time, and they are absolutely committed to this goal – our door is open.

 “I want to thank all of them for all they are doing. When I clap for carers on a Thursday night, as well as applauding the NHS, I am applauding them.”

Some people are particularly affected by the lockdown. Social worker Alison Earle, from the council’s adult mental health service, explained: “People with significant mental health issues are already socially isolated, often without contact with family or friends. The lockdown has heightened their sense of isolation.”

Her colleague Sam MacDonald added: “Much of our work has been around providing emotional support and reassurance through telephone contact. The ability to reach out to someone, even by phone, has been received positively, with people reporting feeling less lonely and more hopeful about the future.”

Enablement officer Orla Murphy works with people who have mental health problems or learning difficulties. She said: “Guiding and supporting people through a difficult time has been rewarding, and makes me feel really proud of the work I do to improve people’s lives.”

(Clockwise from top left): Sam MacDonald, Orla Murphy and Alison Earle

The council says that people should contact the city council’s crisis support team if they or anyone they know needs additional help if they don’t have enough food, are suffering with their finances, or are feeling lonely and isolated. 

If this is the case for you or someone you know, email C19support@leicester.gov.uk

More information about the lockdown and the coronavirus in Leicester is available here. And info about and council services that have been affected by the virus can be found here.

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