A community support scheme is being expanded after county councillors hailed it a “huge success”.

Launched in March 2020, the Supportive Communities programme has attracted hundreds of volunteers and worked with existing charities and groups to help thousands of adults in need of support.

Cllr Johnny McMahon

Cllr Johnny McMahon, Staffordshire County Council’s cabinet member for health, care and wellbeing, said the initiative was helping a broad range of people.

“This project began at more or less the same time as the first lockdown began and demonstrated its value immediately – those in need received food deliveries, had medical prescriptions collected and found a friendly voice at the end of the phone.

“At the same time, we were able to help a lot of other people by simply listening to their problems and directing them to local help in their community, rather than needing the county council to intervene.

“None of this would be possible without individual people giving up their time, or the long-established local volunteer groups, which do so much work in their neighbourhoods and I thank everyone who helps in one way or another.”

Cllr Johnny McMahon, Staffordshire County Council

In its first 12 months as part of the response to the pandemic, and working closely with voluntary sector partner Support Staffordshire, the Supportive Communities programme:

  • attracted nearly 2,000 volunteers, of which around 1,500 were signposted to local volunteering opportunities
  • made 5,034 weekly food deliveries
  • collected 2,864 prescriptions
  • made 1,594 befriending phone calls
  • delivered food parcel deliveries to around 2,500 vulnerable adults
  • supported 149 mutual aid groups to make a difference in their communities

But a report to be heard by Staffordshire County Council’s Cabinet next week (17th February) highlights that while the last 12 months has seen an increase in volunteering, some established charities and organisations have been adversely affected by the pandemic.

“By working with and supporting those groups which can make a difference at a local level in their communities, we can help people stay in their own homes for longer.”

Cllr Johnny McMahon, Staffordshire County Council

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