The borough is coming together to support its residents.
Any resident short of food or feeling isolated and wanting a chat can contact H&F CAN, a council-led network of volunteers. So far 1,300 residents have signed up to deliver food or befriend others. H&F CAN is also working closely with the many community volunteer groups that have sprung up across the borough.
Meanwhile, a separate service called H&F Shield, is helping the most at risk residents in our community. These are people with certain underlying conditions or who are immunosuppressed (for example, due to a course of chemotherapy), who the government has advised to self-isolate for 12 weeks and avoid any face-to-face contact.
H&F Shield is part of a national NHS scheme and the NHS is directly contacting people with these conditions to provide further advice.
H&F Shield has now sent out its first support packages, following a busy weekend at Hammersmith Town Hall, where volunteers repackaged supplies provided by the government.
Volunteers all wore protective gloves and where possible packages met individual dietary needs, based on information from the NHS. All the packages included medically approved guidance on how to unpack and store the contents to avoid any risk from the outside world.
The Shield packages are being prepared separately from the food parcels which H&F CAN is putting together for other less vulnerable people.
Taxis offering a lifeline
The council has worked with the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association and taxi app Free Now to get the Shield food packages out as quickly as possible. Drivers are now coming from all over London to help
They are briefed to deliver the package to the door, knock and then step back to a safe distance to allow the resident to answer and pick up the package. Using licensed London taxi drivers provides peace of mind for recipients as the drivers have already had official background checks.
A new emergency service
“H&F Shield is a new emergency service for those who need the most protection from coronavirus,” said Cllr Ben Coleman, H&F’s cabinet member for health and social care. “Meanwhile, H&F CAN is there to help everyone else. We’re so grateful to everyone involved in keeping our residents safe and well.”
To get help from H&F CAN, call 0800 145 6095 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteer for the CAN using the same phone number or email address.
Who exactly is Shield for?
The government says that people falling into this most at risk group include:
- Solid organ transplant recipients.
- People with specific cancers:
- people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
- people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
- people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
- people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
- people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
- people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last 6 months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs.
- People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD.
- People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell).
- People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection.
- Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired.
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