SHIELDED and vulnerable residents in Powys are no longer receiving calls from the County Council but can continue to get help from local voluntary services.

Council staff - many redeployed from other roles - had been getting in touch to see if help or support was needed by those told to stay home by Wales’ Chief Medical Officer, as well as others who might be isolated, and hit the dial button more than 23,000 times.

Shielding came to an end in Wales on Sunday, August 16, with the Welsh Government now advising those who had previously been told to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic, that they can now take unlimited exercise outdoors and meet with members of one other household outdoors. They can also form part of an extended household.

Because shielding has finished, the council has stopped making welfare calls, but if anyone is feeling lonely or isolated, or needs a bit of support to stay healthy and independent, help is still available from the Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations (PAVO).

It runs the Powys Befriending Service for the over 50s, which can include a weekly phone call, a letter in the post or the chance to join in an online meeting. If you are interested in this support, call 01597 822191 or email

PAVO also runs a Community Connector Service for adults of all ages in the county, as well as their families and carers, which can put you in touch with voluntary organisations and community groups which can support you further. If you are interested in this, call 01597 828649 or email

Help can also be accessed by contacting the council’s Adult Social Services Information Support Team (ASSIST) on 0345 602 7050. You may also find it useful to contact your local County Councillor for advice, with their details available here:

The ASSIST team should also be contacted if you have concerns about the safety of an adult, while anyone with concerns about the safety of a child should contact the council’s Front Door service on 01597 827666. Out of hours the contact numbers are 01597 825275/0845 054 4847, and in an emergency, when there is an immediate threat of harm, you should dial 999.

Between April 3 and August 14, a total of 23,791 welfare calls were made by Powys County Council staff, resulting in:

- 649 Welsh Government food parcels being ordered

- 438 requests for a call back from the resident’s local county councillor

- 459 requests for help with basic care needs which were passed on to ASSIST

- 1,654 referrals to PAVO’s Community Connector Service (of these 1,076 wanted help with food, 373 needed help with their prescriptions and 205 wished to talk to a volunteer)

- 150 referrals over safeguarding

Those contacted were also asked if they would like to be called again by the council on a weekly or fortnightly basis, with around half taking up this option.

Portfolio Holder for Corporate Governance and Engagement, Councillor Graham Breeze said: “We were really pleased to provide this vital service during the early months of the coronavirus pandemic and are equally pleased by the reaction it received from some of the county’s most vulnerable residents.

“They have really appreciated the effort made and the empathy shown by our members of staff making these phone calls and many of them have provided glowing tributes in return. This praise has been richly deserved by all those involved, from those making the calls to those who worked in the background to set the whole thing up.”