Council leader thanks charities for supporting town through Covid

Healthwatch Reading was one of the organisations praised for helping vulnerable people during lockdown.
One Reading Community Hub image

READING COUNCIL has thanked a range of local charities – including Healthwatch Reading – for their role in supporting residents during the pandemic.

The organisations worked in partnership with the council’s One Reading Community Hub, which was set up shortly after the government put the nation into lockdown. The hub took more than 5,300 calls, including more than 1,100 prescription delivery requests, which were fulfilled by staff (including Carl Borges, pictured in high viz vest above) and volunteers at Healthwatch Reading.

In a public statement on 25 August 2020, Reading Borough Council leader Jason Brock said: “Reading has always been known for its great community spirit and it is no surprise everyone has pulled together to ensure that the One Reading Community Hub provided for people in their hour of need. I’ve heard first hand from residents who have received support via the hub and the value of its work cannot be underestimated. My sincere thanks go to all involved. This is a clear example of partnership work at its finest.”

How organisations helped local people

  • Age UK Reading: Practical and emotional support to elderly, isolated people

  • Communicare: Information and advice about benefits plus food parcel referrals

  • Engage Befriending: Regular phone calls to isolated people

  • Healthwatch Reading: 1,100+ prescription deliveries to shielding residents

  • Readifood: Helped to get food parcels to 3,500+ residents

  • Reading Voluntary Action: Coordinating and supporting the charity sector’s role

Councillor Brock added: “The efforts of everyone involved show exceptional selflessness, dedication and determination. I am grateful to you all.”

The council funded an external call centre, run by Huntswood, to deal with the high volume of calls coming to the hub. This has now gone back in-house, being answered by council staff, for anyone who has no other means of support to get food or medicines deliveries, or residents with queries on wellbeing, employment or benefits. Phone 0808 189 4325 or go online at www.reading.gov.uk/coronavirussupport.

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