Since the Covid-19 pandemic began a year ago, Wirral’s residents and community groups have been supporting their neighbours like never before.
From shopping and prescription drop-offs, to donating used laptops and spare allotment produce, local people have been helping their neighbours in all sorts of ways.
Although that support has done much to make life easier for many people, for others it may have been a life saver.
Earlier this year Wirral Council’s Emergency Duty Team, who handle out-of-hours welfare issues, were contacted about an elderly gentleman (who we will call Jack to protect his identity) in a case that illustrates how important it is to let someone know if you have concerns about someone so they can get the help they need.
John Ryan, from the council’s Community Patrol, explains: “A few weeks ago, Jack, who is in his late-80s and lives alone in Moreton, visited his local shops on a Sunday afternoon after running out of essential supplies. Unfortunately, he took a funny turn while he was out and had to be helped home by another shopper.
“The good samaritan later mentioned Jack’s plight in a post on a local community Facebook page, which was seen by Ema Wilkes from Rock Ferry based Neo Community. Ema immediately alerted Wirral Council’s Emergency Duty Team, before jumping in her car to deliver a hot roast dinner to Jack’s front door.
“The Emergency Duty Team asked Community Patrol to visit Jack straight away to carry out what is known as an initial welfare check. As soon as I arrived it was obvious that he was very low on food and had run out of some of the prescription medication he needed.
“I immediately gave him an emergency food box containing a week’s worth of essential items and Neo Community kindly offered to make sure he gets one delivered every week, so he doesn’t run out again.
“I also contacted Jack’s GP surgery about his prescription running out, so they have put a delivery service in place, which means his medicine supply is sorted, too.
“Thanks to someone reporting Jack’s situation, my colleagues in Adult Social Care are now aware of his needs and have offered on-going support. I have checked-in on him a few times and am glad to say he is doing much better.”
The Chair of Wirral Council’s Adult Social Care and Public Health Committee, Councillor Yvonne Nolan, said: “It is so important that we all look out for people who might need some support. Lockdown restrictions and the need for many older or vulnerable people to shelter, means that most of us are seeing less of our neighbours, resulting in fewer opportunities to check that they are doing OK.
“If the past year has shown us anything, it is how quickly our situation can change and how we can all find ourselves needing a helping hand. Jack’s case really illustrates how we can all make a difference by letting someone know if we have concerns about a neighbour or someone we think might be struggling.”
Support is available to help people stay independent and get the most out of life – either from the Council or from other professional care providers – and there are lots of voluntary organisations working to make life better for vulnerable residents.
If you, or someone you are concerned about, might need some help, please call Wirral Council’s social care team on 0151 514 2222 (option 3) Mon-Fri, 8.50am to 5pm. Outside of these hours pleasecall the Emergency Duty Team on 0151 677 6557. If the situation is very serious and you or a vulnerable adult is at immediate risk, you should call 999.
The LiveWell Wirral website provides details of local services that can help people live independently, including groups and organisations that can help with care and day to day needs such as shopping and getting out and about.
The Wirral Infobank website also provides lots of information about help and support available in your area, including, food providers and deliveries, help getting medication, and staying physically and mentally well.Emergency help with food, utilities and wider welfare support is available for households in financial hardship via the Council’s Coronavirus Helpline on 666 5050 or online at www.wirral.gov.uk/welfaresupport.