The Grampian Assistance Hub, established last month to help people in need throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The phone line and website both went live at the end of March. Since then, more than 3,000 people have used the site to ask for help or to request help for someone else.
The website address is www.GCAH.org.uk
and the phone number is 0808 196 3384 (8am-8pm 7 days a week). The main objective is as a place where people can report that they need help. It is also a way for residents to volunteer their support which they can safely deliver in their communities. Staff are on the phone to provide callers with up to date information, or to link them up with the right person who can quickly answer questions.
Another important feature is that the site can be used to request help on behalf of someone else, allowing friends and neighbours to signpost to someone in need.
The Hub is open across Grampian, accessible to anyone from Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire or Moray.
And the praise for the work of those staffing the Hub to get help to those at their most vulnerable has been pouring in. Case studies:
Email received from woman who lives in Northern Ireland but her elderly parents are in Inverurie. Through the hub a local church group were able to deliver them a food parcel. Despite having been insistent that they “were fine” the parcel was incredibly warmly received and may save them having to go out for a while.
Elderly woman in Elgin who had broken her leg so couldn't walk her dog. Hub staff got in touch with a community group in the area, who secured a volunteer to walk the lady's dog.
Elderly lady in Mintlaw who had a broken washing machine. Hub staff managed to her in touch with a local charitable group who sorted her out with a washing machine and fitted it. They passed on, “I called her today to see how she is getting on with the machine - she says she is loving it and was able to do a load of laundry this morning for the first time in a long while.”
Staff at the hub followed up calls with an individual who has required repeat support from the Hub. He has required food parcels as well as other assistance and was matched with a volunteer. That individual got in touch to say “He wanted me to pass on how grateful he and his partner are to everyone for all the assistance that they have been given and to let us know how much their food parcels have meant to them.”
Divisional Commander Chief Superintendent Campbell Thomson from Police Scotland chairs the multi-agency Local Resilience Partnership (LRP), who oversee the work of the Assistance Hub. He said: “Behind every figure is a person in real need. Someone who is not sure where to turn to get help and advice. For many this Assistance Hub is a useful channel, but for those people it is a lifeline. I take great pride in the work of the team who set up and run the Hub and owe a debt of gratitude to the volunteers and businesses. It is becoming a well-worn phrase, but these really are unprecedented times. Through the work of this Assistance Hub I can see the very best team working and partnership with one single objective, helping people at their time of need.”
In a recent letter to all the volunteers who signed up to help via the Assistance Hub, Prof. Amanda Croft, Chief Executive of NHS Grampian, said: “When the Grampian Assistance Hub was launched last month, few could have predicted the remarkable response we have received from the people of the North East. I’m pleased to say that you have come forward in extraordinary numbers to protect our NHS and support those most in need. Over 3,000 individuals or groups across Grampian have now registered to offer support in their communities. That is incredible. The spirit and enthusiasm shown by people from all walks of life is truly inspirational. I give my heartfelt thanks to everyone who has come forward: we owe each one of you a huge debt of gratitude.”