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Call centre staff on hand to support vulnerable residents

MORE than 6,000 vulnerable Swansea residents who've been asked by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales to shield themselves from Coronavirus are getting some extra support from the council.

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The council has set up a new virtual call centre helpline so that that isolated residents who do not have friends, family, neighbours or voluntary services to help with essential tasks such as collecting prescriptions or accessing food will be supported.

Normally call centres involve vast open plan offices with teams of people sitting side-by-side. But the new call centre is staffed by officers from different areas of the council working from their own homes.

And most have been re-directed from other council departments and trained up specially to give support to vulnerable people through the coronavirus crisis.

Council Leader Rob Stewart said: "The dedicated helpline is doing magnificent work supporting people who don't otherwise have support from neighbours, friends or family.

"They're helping direct people to volunteers who can support them by picking up prescriptions and delivering medicines, by ordering free weekly food parcels paid for by the Welsh Government and other support besides.

"The virtual call centre is it is one of many examples of staff stepping up to help residents when they need the council's help the most.

"Our IT teams have put in a lot of effort, very quickly to create this new dedicated call centre helpline and those who are staffing it have come from our cultural services teams, including libraries, Events, the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea Museum and the Grand Theatre.

"They've been fully trained-up and it's impressive to see their commitment, flexibility and empathy for their new roles.

"People have never needed their council as much as they do now and the pace of the transformation of services and those who are delivering them is incredible to see."

Those for whom the call centre helpline was set up, have been sent a letter by the council explaining what services it can provide given that  they have been asked to self-isolate by the Chief Medical Officer for Wales for 12 weeks.

The call centre helpline is not designed to provide general medical advice and nor can it provide financial advice. However, to those who have no other means of support it will be a lifeline during the pandemic.

Cllr Stewart said: "For those of our residents who do not have support networks or friends and family to assist them, Swansea Council and our Voluntary Sector is here for them.

""To date, our dedicated call centre helpline team has dealt with 600 enquiries in response to the letters that both the council and the Chief Medical Officer have sent out to Swansea residents in this vulnerable group."

 "The response of our staff to get this in place so quickly just shows how adaptable and resourceful our workforce is.

"I'm very proud that they are responding to the needs of our most vulnerable residents when they need our help the most."


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