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07 April 2020

COVID-19 Multi Agency Update - Tuesday 7 April

Cumbria County Council

Emergency Helpline supporting hundreds of vulnerable people a day across Cumbria

It’s been just over a week since Cumbria County Council and partners launched an Emergency Support Helpline for vulnerable or isolated people in need of urgent help. The emergency helpline has already taken over 1,000 calls, receiving around 200 calls a day but seeing slightly less on weekends.

The helpline exists to provide support to people at ‘high risk’ who aren’t able to rely on neighbours, friends or family members, and may be struggling for food, medicines or other essential supplies. The requests for help are matched with local support which is being offered by a network of community groups, volunteers, redeployed council employees, and local businesses.

Councillor Deborah Earl, Cabinet Member for Public Health and Communities, said:

“This is a huge team effort, the service is working well and I’m incredibly proud of everyone involved.

“Our teams are working closely with partners, local businesses, community groups and volunteers to make sure we get emergency supplies of food and medicines to our county’s most vulnerable people.

“It’s a serious job and a vital service for people who can’t access support from friends or family, I’m delighted that feedback from partners and service users has been overwhelmingly positive.”

How to contact the Emergency Support Helpline:

The telephone call centre operates Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm and 10am to 2pm at weekends. The service also accept referrals from members of the public who may be concerned about people in their community. Over the Bank Holiday, Friday 10 April to Monday 13 April, the service will operate between 10am to 2pm.

Voluntary and Community Groups right across Cumbria have stepped up to the challenge of ensuring their communities are supported effectively during this time. At least 300 voluntary groups are now working hard to support the most vulnerable in their communities, who have no other support network, to ensure they receive assistance with grocery shopping and pharmacy orders. The county council will continue to work alongside these groups, providing advice and guidance, and as a broker to ensure they are able to take up offers of help from local businesses, make connections with food providers or support with grant applications.  

Additional efforts are also underway to make sure isolated people, and those who may be ‘offline’, are hearing about the service. This week, the county council will write to residents in the NHS ‘shielding’ category, and those who are classed as extremely vulnerable, to make them aware of the helpline service. This will be supported with an SMS (text message) and a mass leaflet drop across local communities. Members of the public, volunteers and local businesses can also help spread the word and download a pack of useful resources to print and share at www.cumbria.gov.uk/coronavirus.

The county council would like to thank colleagues, partners, community groups and volunteers, local businesses, the public and everyone involved for their commitment to supporting Cumbria's most vulnerable people.


Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service

Home fire safety - try our socket overload calculator

Most people have extension leads in their homes, using 4-way bar adaptors to increase the number of appliances that they can plug into a wall socket.

However, although there is space to plug in four appliances, this does not mean it is always safe to do so. Different electrical appliances use different amounts of power. To avoid the risk of overheating and possibly fire, you should never plug into an extension lead or socket appliances that together use more than 13 amps or 3000 watts of energy.

Use our online calculator to plug in some typical household appliances to see the effect on the load, and to get useful tips on how to avoid overloading your sockets.  More information about home fire safety is available to view on the CFRS web pages.


Local Resilience Forum

Working safely to protect workers and the economy

Last week, the multi-agency Cumbria Strategic Co-ordination Group of the Local Resilience Forum, which is managing the county’s response to COVID-19, issued guidance to businesses on safe working, to ensure that both the county’s workforce and economy are protected during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The guidance reminded the public that not all businesses need to close under current guidance - indeed, it is important for business to carry on - providing that they operate safely in line with Public Health England guidelines. Full details of the Cumbria Strategic Co-ordination Group’s safe working guidance can be found here: https://www.thecumbrialep.co.uk/news-detail/2020/businesses-urged-to-adhere-to-safe-working-guidelines/.  

The Local Resilience Forum’s Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG) has since established a ‘Working safely through COVID-19’ blog series online, asking leading Cumbrian companies to explain how they are maintaining safe operations in the interests of their workforce and the wider economy.More information and local case studies available here - www.thecumbrialep.co.uk/news

Cumbria’s businesses urged to dig even deeper to protect key workers

Cumbria’s businesses have dug deep in answer to a plea to donate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) that will keep doctors, nurses, care home workers and other key staff safe from the COVID-19 virus.

However, more needs to be done and more equipment of the right specification is still being sought - that’s the message from Jo Lappin, Chair of the Local Resilience Forum’s Business and Economic Response and Recovery Group (BERRG), which is co-ordinating the effort.

Many businesses have already responded with offers of protective equipment, but as donated supplies are handed out to front line services, there’s a constant need to replenish the supply line, particularly in the case of IIR fluid repellent face masks, surgical face masks, gloves, aprons and goggles.

Regular deliveries of PPE are being received, but this local support is helpful for items which are being used most frequently.

Mrs Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “I’ve said before that Cumbrian businesses are renowned for their community spirit, innovation, creativity and ingenuity.

“They’ve proved that already in responding to the needs of our front line staff, with thousands of units of protective equipment having already been donated and for this we’re all immensely grateful.

https://bit.ly/CumbriaPPE“However, the need continues and I appeal to all organisations out there who at the moment have no need for such equipment to get in touch via the following link: 

Mrs Lappin said that it is important that donated equipment is European approved clinical standard PPE, meeting the required specifications for use in key services such as the NHS. She pointed to new Government guidance recently published that provides helpful advice on this: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/technical-specifications-for-personal-protective-equipment-ppe.

“We’re grateful for all appropriate donations but would particularly welcome IIR fluid repellent face masks, surgical face masks, gloves, aprons and goggles, which are desperately needed,” she said.

“Your donation really can help to protect our most vulnerable citizens and our most precious assets - our health and social care workers. What better thing to do for our frontline health care workers and our local community at this time of need.”

The spare equipment provided will be issued to key medical and social care facilities across Cumbria, with collection available, if needed.


Allerdale Borough Council

Appeal for private landlords

Allerdale's Housing Options team is appealing for private landlords with available accommodation in the borough to get in touch, in order to support vulnerable residents into permanent accommodation.

Incentives may be offered, such as rent in advance or rent deposits, as well as having a local authority contact available to offer any support. 

Please get in touch on 01900 702660, or email homelessness@allerdale.gov.uk.

Business support grant payments

Business support grants to those affected by the coronavirus continue to be available. Allerdale Borough Council is administering the payments and has now processed 1,530 in total.

The payments awarded so far total £18.9m. As of yesterday (April 6) the council had received 1,811 applications.

Some businesses need to apply for the support and can do so via the council's website: https://www.allerdale.gov.uk/en/coronavirus/coronavirus-business-grants-claims/.

Lake District National Park

Be a good egg this Easter - help keep the Lake District safe

Ahead of the Easter weekend, Lake District voices have come together to plead for people not to travel to the national park for a day trip or to visit holiday homes.

Communities across the park are struggling with the coronavirus pandemic and sadly the number of cases in Cumbria is rising rapidly. This has led to the National Park Authority, Cumbria Police, Cumbria Tourism, local business owners and the voluntary sector asking people to wait, now is not the time to visit the Lake District.

Chief Executive of the Lake District National Park, Richard Leafe says: “Please do not visit the Lake District for the day, or come to a holiday home - we will be here to welcome you back as soon as it’s safe to do so and we can’t wait for that time. Thank you to the thousands of people who have taken the advice stay at home - this really does save lives and helps to protect the Lake District that everyone loves.”

Cumbria Tourism’s president, Eric Robson, says: “Now is not the time to visit the Lake District, Cumbria. This will be an Easter like no other, but we urge visitors and second home owners to listen to the Government and to stay in their main residence to protect lives.  This is vitally important not only to limit the spread of the disease but also to safeguard Cumbria’s local health services and infrastructure, which may well come under immense pressure just servicing local residents’ needs. We look forward to welcoming people back to our glorious landscape, but only when the time is right.”

Cumbria Police have been very clear in their advice to anyone who is thinking about travelling to or around the Lake District. Assistant Chief Constable Andy Slattery said: “If you are considering travelling to a second home or holiday home this weekend for the holidays, I ask you please follow Government guidance and stay at home and only leave when necessary.

"It is clear that holiday homes continue to be advertised in Cumbria and this is attracting holidaymakers.  This causes friction with the resident population who are reporting activity to the police and other local authorities. We recognise that some businesses have already withdrawn their advertisements and are not taking bookings and we ask others follow that lead. Travelling unnecessarily to another part of the country to stay in a holiday cottage is contrary to the guidance issued by the Government and could result in prosecution.

“This is serious and we need to protect ourselves, our families and to protect our NHS. Every contact we avoid lessens the spread of the virus. This is not forever, and it is a small price to pay for saving lives.

“Those out exercising locally are reminded to consider the local communities they might come in contact with and stay two metres from others. It is very important to maintain mental and physical health and people are entitled to walk, run or cycle locally but we ask them to avoid passing through farmyards or close to rural homes if possible.

"I would appeal to everybody to remain calm and avoid seeking to blame other groups for the situation in which we find ourselves. Animosity between sections of the community is counter-productive and we all need to work together if we are to beat this virus. Please stick rigidly to the social distancing measures yourselves and leave the authorities to deal with those who do not.

“Officers will continue to be out in our communities providing advice and ensuring that people are complying with the law.”

The leaders of the twelve Lake District Mountain Rescue teams would like to reinforce the message about staying at home, explaining why it helps our NHS workers when the fells continue to remain quiet.

Richard Warren, Chairman of the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association (LDSAMRA) that represents the twelve Cumbrian mountain rescue teams says, “We cannot stress enough the importance of staying at home.  Apart from helping to save lives in the wider community it will reduce the risk of Covid19 infection to our volunteers during any rescue and helps reduce the workload on our NHS.  Since the introduction of the stay at home policy sixteen days ago, Cumbria teams have only received just one ‘999’ call for someone who got into difficulty on the mountain. 

“In 2019, over the same 16 day period our teams dealt with 28 callouts.  These included 14 injuries and 6 medical emergencies.  These would have required 20 ambulance requests and a similar demand on our A&E Departments.  With the Easter weekend fast approaching and reasonably good weather forecasted the ‘Stay at Home’ message remains true.  Thank you for staying at home, keeping the fells quiet, supporting our NHS and saving lives.”

For the latest information on the Lake District during coronavirus visit: https://www.lakedistrict.gov.uk/coronavirus


North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS

Walls of Hope bring cheer during Coronavirus

In times of difficulty we all need a bit of hope.

And while things are difficult at the moment, it is important to remember that this time will eventually pass.

A project to brighten up people’s spirits has been launched by North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust.

The Walls of Hope are a place where people can share their drawings, paintings, poems and stories.

At the Cumberland Infirmary, the Wall of Hope will be just inside the atrium past the Macmillan stand.

At the West Cumberland Hospital it will be located close to Costa and the restaurant.

Walls will also be set up at our community hospitals too.

And a virtual wall will be created on our social media channels for people to see.

Elaine Crooks, Patient Experience & Involvement Lead at NCIC, said: “The idea was inspired by my daughter who drew some pictures for NHS staff at the weekend and it grew from there as a way of  connecting communities - primarily children - with a way of them expressing their support and hope to our staff by sending in pictures, poetry and words.”

NCIC Chaplain Barrie Thomas said: “The phrase Wall of Hope is to reflect the need to see beyond the present darkness and see something of the light beyond, the time when we are all through this. Obviously, the rainbow is an appropriate theme to use given its significance reflecting the end of the storm.

“We believe this Wall of Hope will make an important statement of support for staff as they pass it by, especially those separated from their loved ones just now.”

The chaplaincy team are reaching out to children at the emergency schools, Carlisle Youth Zone and different communities.

Any poster or poem submitted will be laminated prior to display.

Entries can be sent to PALS@ncic.nhs.uk

Entries for the wall at the West Cumberland Hospital can be sent to Elaine Haraldsen at elaine.haraldsen@ncic.nhs.uk

COVID-19 Update 7 April