Thank you, Somerset!

Thousands of volunteers, community organisations, charities and all five local authorities have been tirelessly helping people in Somerset get the support they need during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Somerset's five local authorities and the Clinical Commissioning Group are working together with groups and volunteers to support Somerset's response to Coronavirus. It's being coordinated via a network of community hubs and the Somerset Coronavirus Helpline - 0300 790 6275.

All six organisations would like to extend a big thank you to all the wonderful volunteers and keyworkers who have been working round the clock to support efforts to look after the vulnerable during this emergency.

Spark Somerset is a key partner and now has more than 1,200 Corona Helper volunteers signed-up to help with anything from shopping to dog walking. Visit www.corona-helpers.co.uk for more information

Spark co-ordinates these volunteers and is also providing advice and support to many local community groups and voluntary sector organisations. They've also recently launched webinars that focus on key topics like prescriptions and financial support.

The Community Council for Somerset (CCS) Village Agents is also playing a vital role in finding people the help they need because of the self-isolation and social distancing measures in place. Since 23 March, Community and Village agents have undertaken over 32,400 community support activities.

As well as Village Agents, Health Connectors in Mendip; wellbeing advisors and health coaches are reaching out to people who need extra support during this challenging time.

Together they have contacted over 1,000 people to offer support. Their role is to put people in touch with the help or care they need, whichever organisation or volunteer group is best-placed to give it. www.somersetcarers.org/who-can-help-you/somerset-village-agents/

Meanwhile, in every corner of Somerset, local community groups have sprung into action to help with a range of tasks - from shopping and providing meals, to sewing face masks or mowing lawns.

This army of volunteers has ensured that people are not caught short in their time of need. Some of the organisations have included Parish Councils who have worked together with wonderful local community volunteers to set up some great offers of help and have been able to put people in touch with support.

To date, over 300 food parcels have been distributed across Somerset from district hubs in addition to over 1700 shield parcels from central government.

The five local authorities in Somerset are connecting those in need with support through the Somerset Coronavirus Helpline 0300 790 6275. It's available 8am to 6pm, seven days a week for anyone who needs non-medical help.

Help is out there for Mendip residents

In addition to the one number emergency line, other help is out there for communities in Mendip.

Businesses can apply for a grant here: www.mendip.gov.uk/businessrates

If you run a village or community hall you can apply for the COVID-19 Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant. A number of halls across Somerset have already been awarded the £10,000 grant! Check out the Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE) guidance: Eligibility for Government Support for Halls And to register, visit www.mendip.gov.uk/businessrates and fill in the online form.

Council Tax Support and Hardship Fund help

We want residents who have not claimed Universal Credit and need help paying Council Tax, to contact us to claim Council Tax Support and to find out about other help that is available visit: www.www.mendip.gov.uk/article/7104/Reduce-Discount-or-Exempt-Council-Tax

Benefits help checker is a gov.uk website which has lots of guidance on help you can apply for and how to make a claim if you are no longer working.

Help for families on Universal Credit

Families on Universal Credit can get free milk, veg and baby milk if they have a child under 4 or are at least 10 weeks pregnant.  

www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/free-milk-fruit-vegetables-and-vitamins

COVID-19 Mindline, Mind in Somerset. There to listen and support on 01823 276 892. Mindline.

As much as we want you to stay at home, we also want you to be safe www.gov.uk/guidance/domestic-abuse-how-to-get-help.

Keep in touch with your District Council:

Mendip District Council has a corporate Facebook page. Please follow us for the latest news, commentary and campaigns. MDC Official Facebook Page.

We are also on Twitter twitter.com/MendipCouncil and LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/company/mendip-district-council