A new partnership between Hackney Council and the local voluntary and community sector has been set up to ensure continued support for vulnerable residents affected by the wider impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Called the Community Partnerships Network, the new arrangement will build on the community spirit shown in the borough during the coronavirus outbreak to provide continued and sustainable support to residents who need it, bringing together Council help for vulnerable residents with the grassroots initiatives that have given a lifeline to Hackney’s communities.

As part of a huge community effort in recent months, the Council has worked alongside local organisations and mutual aid groups to support those who need it most – including delivering up to 1,600 emergency food parcels a day to residents forced to shield or self-isolate and taking more than 5,000 calls through the coronavirus helpline, which matches requests for help with Council services or volunteer partners.

With lockdown restrictions now easing, shielding ending on 31 July and the need for food parcels reducing, the Community Partnerships Network will refocus this support in line with the changing impact of the pandemic and needs of Hackney’s most vulnerable residents, ensuring this can be maintained in the long-term.

The Community Partnerships Network will include:

  • Maintaining the Council’s coronavirus helpline through which residents – or others on their behalf – can request support such as accessing food, prescriptions, befriending services, social care, or digital access.
  • Working with Hackney’s community sector to help them support residents, from grants and training to logistics and storage, including a food surplus hub run by the community, accessible to any organisation offering free food.
  • Continuing to match volunteers with organisations that can support those who need assistance.
  • The Council and community groups working together to secure grants, funding and support for local initiatives. 
  • Being ready to restart emergency support in the event of new outbreaks or local lockdowns.

Partnership working has already proven successful in securing £80,000 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and food donations from investment bank Investec.

Residents seeking support for themselves or someone else through the Community Partnerships Network can still contact the helpline on 020 8356 3111 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm) or visit hackney.gov.uk/coronavirus-support

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