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Call the Council for direct help

From Monday 6 April any resident who feels they need help can call the Council's new community helpline and receive direct support.

Council staff are on-hand to ensure the most vulnerable in the borough will have food and medicine and feel supported. All residents need to do is call 01483 44 44 00 or register online at www.guildford.gov.uk/athome. Or if you know of someone who is self-isolating or a neighbour or friend you are worried about, you can call on their behalf, just let them know you are referring them and we will do the rest.

Council staff are also offering another phone service by matching offers of volunteering to resident run community groups (both new and existing). If you would like to volunteer to help your local community, contact us on 01483 505050 and one of our dedicated customer service team will put you in touch with groups in the borough that need help.

Cllr Caroline Reeves, Leader of the Council says: "We have set up the new helpline to provide direct help for our most vulnerable residents who maybe do not have family or friends nearby to help. It's easy to register by calling 01483 44 44 00 or you can register online on the Guildford Borough Council website. We can help with food, picking up prescriptions and support you if you are feeling isolated. All you need to do is register and we will be in touch as soon as possible to help. If you are worried about a family member who lives in the borough or a neighbour or friend you haven't see for a while and you don't live close enough to help or are self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms, you can call us or go online and register for them. Just please let them know you are registering them.

"No-one needs to be without support - we are here to help. So whether you register yourself, or a friend or neighbour registers for you, please get in touch and we will help you."

She added: "We are also pleased to collaborate with community groups by helping connect offers of help from volunteers. Guildford's always had a fantastic sense of community spirit and this has grown even further over the past few weeks. It's been incredible to see how groups have quickly established themselves in our communities, providing extra vital help to those in need and we are grateful for this. We will support the groups by directing any offers of help to them. As always we need everyone to follow the guidance on hygiene, social distancing and never letting anyone they don't know into their home or giving them money."

The community helpline will be open from 8.30am to 7pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday. Over the Easter bank holiday weekend (Friday 10 to Monday 13 April) we will be open from 10am to 2pm.

We are also reminding residents that we can help those who have been recently discharged from hospital or need changes made to their home to allow them live safely and independently. Please call our Safe and Settled team on 01483 444476. We can install handrails, careline alarms and more.

The Council has two local hubs at the Park Barn Centre (The Hive) and the Shawfield Centre to the west of the borough, both providing an increased meals-on-wheels and wellbeing checks service. We have already set aside £50,000 to pay for food for our local hubs to ensure we can meet the needs of our vulnerable groups. We are also very pleased to open Spectrum Leisure Centre as the county's hub for distributing food to those who are classed as shielded because they have received a letter from the NHS. The centre is a collaboration between Surrey County Council, Guildford Borough Council and partners from the Local Resilience Forum.

Our local foodbanks, North Guildford Foodbank and the Guildford Salvation Army drop-in and food crisis centre, on Woodbridge Road, welcome donations and financial assistance. North Guildford Foodbank has branches at St Clare's Church, New Hope Centre and Bushy Hill Community Centre.

For more information on the Council's response to Coronavirus see www.guildford.gov.uk

Published on Monday 6 April.