Transformation of the Dudley Borough COVID support line
Last year, in the first national lockdown because of the Coronavirus Pandemic, in partnership with Dudley Metropolitan Council and Dudley CVS, and led by our very own Liz Jones, Operations Director, we implemented a borough wide phone number for people to ring who were experiencing adverse effects as a consequence of the pandemic.
This phone number was our advice line platform that enabled a hunter group of call handlers, made up of volunteers, council library staff who were furloughed, paid and volunteer staff from us and DCVS to answer the calls every day and using an innovative referral platform that we implemented, refer residents struggling because of the pandemic to access food from the Black Country Foodbank, medication and food (if people were shielding and therefore could not go out, volunteers were matched by DCVS to support people), emergency access to our debt and benefits specialist advice or to address any major loneliness and isolation issues caused by the pandemic.
Citizens Advice Dudley and Wolverhampton are now in stage 2 of this service as we are in the third national lockdown and again, in partnership with DCVS and Public Health, have developed the service to now be a COVID Support line. In Dec and January alone, 332 people rang, in crisis, to this support line.
This means that we are training up the Family Centre staff across Dudley Borough to use our referral platform and our call handlers will be helping families in desperate need due to the ongoing struggles the Covid-19 Pandemic is causing.
Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said:
“Working together with our partners the Covid-19 support line (is there) to help people during the lockdown and beyond. By calling this helpline, families and individuals will be able to get the advice and support they need as well as help with essential food supplies”.