Council supports residents during the Coronavirus pandemic
09th September 2020
In line with government shielding advice, and as alternative local support was developed, Three Rivers District Council closed their ‘food hub’ at the end of July. This service was launched at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, to support residents affected by the restrictions challenges and hardships of the pandemic. The hub formed part of Operation Shield, in partnership with Hertfordshire County Council and the voluntary sector. The Council worked hard to strengthen and forge new partnerships throughout the district, connecting with schools, family intervention teams, local places of worship, hospital navigators, safeguarding teams and neighbourhood corona support groups.
Councillor Nelmes, Leader of Three Rivers Council said ‘I am very proud that, as a council, we were able to provide the food hub to help and support those in need during a very difficult few months. Assistance was offered to those affected as a result of the pandemic restrictions and many members of the Three Rivers District Council volunteered to support the food hub and worked hard to meet the needs of those in shielding.’
The food hub became a hive of activity at the Council offices: Three Rivers House. The ground floor was transformed into a warehouse of produce and a cold-room was installed, to ensure that families received fresh fruit, vegetables and milk, together with their store cupboard items. This hub became the central distribution point for many local COVID groups, to ensure the vulnerable people who they supported received urgent, often same-day deliveries.
Many members of the Council’s team worked at the Food Hub, in addition to their other roles at the Council, demonstrating a team effort that stretched across department and seniority. Councillors were also involved in coordinating donations and supporting the Food Hub.
Councillor Lloyd, Lead member for Leisure and Health, said ‘The Food Hub offered support to those vulnerable who were advised to shield by the Government during the Coronavirus lockdown. The service also offered vital reassurance to those with no other support. The many members of the Three Rivers District Council who were involved in various capacities were glad to have been able to help’.
Since the initiative was launched, the food hub has provided over 47,000 meals and supported over 2000 people living or studying in Three Rivers. Staff were moved by the messages of thanks from local residents, from parents who received essential formula and nappies for their babies, to the elderly, often left feeling vulnerable and isolated, receiving care packages, essential supplies and reassurance for the weeks to come.
Three Rivers District Council is still here to support residents, by working with and supporting Watford & Three Rivers Trust, the local food banks and Herts Help (see below**). There is also a wealth of information and support on the Council’s website, from financial hardship advice and adult care services to mental health services and domestic abuse support. The Council will be liaising closely with authorities, to ensure that local residents are supported in the after-math of the pandemic or in the result of a 2nd wave.
Watford and Three Rivers Trust
The Trust are the Council’s partners in providing support to access food through personal shopping and telephone support for people who may feel isolated. To access support, either visit the trust’s website: w3rt.org, or call on: 01923 216950
The food banks
To find out how to get help from, or give help (e.g. donations) to the food banks, visit the following websites:
Herts Help are also providing key support through their crisis intervention service and provision of emergency food supplies. Reach them at: www.hertshelp.net, call: 0300 123 4044 or email firstname.lastname@example.org