Library staff across Northamptonshire have been redeployed to help vulnerable residents who are self-isolating during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Around 70 staff from the library service team will be supporting the Community Resilience hub from today, calling vulnerable people from local library phones to check that they are safe and well, and if they need any support.
The list of approximately 16,500 people in Northamptonshire has been collated by the Government due to their vulnerability to Covid-19. These are people who have pre-existing health conditions, such as those which affect the heart and lungs, or are immune-compromised due to organ transplants or active cancer treatment.
During the conversations library staff will be checking if people need support with food, prescription medicine deliveries or just someone to talk to regularly to help them interact whilst socially distancing. They will then work with the Community Resilience hub to ensure that these requirements are matched to the teams in the Districts and Boroughs managing the deliveries through staff and volunteers.
A letter has already been sent out to those on the list asking them to register by phone or online if they need any support with food delivery, prescriptions or loneliness during social isolation, and the government is delivering a box of food every week to those who have registered.
However these deliveries haven’t yet covered everyone on the list and also don’t cater for various allergies, dietary or religious needs. The boxes also only provide food for the shielded person rather than the whole household, therefore people have been advised to contact their local authority for further help.
Deputy leader of Northamptonshire County Council Councillor Lizzy Bowen said: "During this time it is vital that we reach out to these people and make sure they are ok. While the vast majority of people on this list will already have the health and social support they need, there is a risk that there are some very vulnerable people who might not have even realised they should be registering with the national line for support.
"These are courtesy calls to ensure that people are supported and safe, and we are extremely proud of all the volunteers already helping vulnerable members in our community, as well as all of our staff members who are taking on new roles to help provide support during this difficult time."
Anyone requiring help can contact our dedicated Community Resilience Service support line on 0300 126 1000 (option 5).