A VITAL service that helped people shielding against coronavirus during the first lockdown, won’t be re-started for the two week “fire break”.

At a meeting on Tuesday, October 20, Powys Council cabinet members heard how successful the support for shielding Powys residents, had been.

Portfolio holder for corporate governance and engagement, Cllr Graham Breeze, said: “Clearly the situation is changing on a daily basis and following the First Minister’s announcement yesterday we will be keeping a very careful eye on the situation, and reviewing whether we need to re-introduce welfare calls during any future lockdowns.”

Cllr Breeze said that the report highlighted the “enormous” amount of work done by dedicated council staff, and that it was reflected in the positive feedback received.

Cllr Breeze, added: “Just how vital a service this was for residents trapped in their homes. and in many cases without another person to talk to I suspect, is evident in the comments.”

Cllr Breeze praised the hundreds of volunteers across Powys who came forward to form invaluable support groups.

He also thanked PAVO, (Powys Association of Voluntary Organisations) for helping coordinate together in establishing a regional partnership know as CSERT (Community Sector Emergency Response Team).

“It would be remiss of me not to mention the role played by councillors during that difficult period many of us were involved at the coalface, delivering food, prescriptions and other essentials,” said Cllr Breeze.

Director of Transformation and Resources, Vanessa Young, said that nearly 24,000 calls were made to people on the shielding list between April 3 and August 25.

Ms Young said:  “The Regional Partnership Board which includes the health board, third sector and other representatives agreed that CSERT would lead our work on providing the community response during the ongoing pandemic.

“If we feel in future that welfare calls would be beneficial, we would look to reinstate those.”

“It is only a two week lockdown and the organisation was only able to provide those calls by re-deploying people from elsewhere.

“We have concluded that this time around our focus will be on communicating with residents so that they know how and where they can access support should they require it.”

Council Leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris (Independent – Llangynidr), said: “We have very little information about what will happen during this short period of lockdown, in terms of shielding.”

Cllr Harris added that when they received more information they would pass it on as soon as possible.

The report was noted for information and to raise awareness,

  • On March 25, Powys received its first data from the Welsh Government, identifying 538 residents in this group .
  • More health conditions were added to the list which saw the total go up  to 5,766, people
  • A further 4,538 people were  identified as vulnerable from PCC data.
  • 10 PCC workers redeployed from other departments made the calls.
  • At the start the Welsh Government received 915 request for food boxes, this was 15.8 per cent of the people classed as shielding.