Community hub helps dozens of vulnerable residents

Published April 27, 2020 at 13:48

Rossendale’s community hub is being accessed by scores of residents across the borough who need support during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Rossendale Connected is a multi-agency partnership linking different organisations to support vulnerable residents who are self-isolating or shielding during the pandemic and need assistance

One of the users of the hub in Chris Worswick, 74, from Bacup, who has Parkinson’s which puts her in the vulnerable group so her husband is not allowed to leave the house.

She said:

“My family all live away and so it has been a lifeline for us because I enjoy cooking. Having a personal shopper means that I can get the ingredients I need to keep making healthy food because I like to cook using fresh produce.”

At the hub’s centre, four people man the phones taking more than 40 calls a day and signposting them to the appropriate help.

One of those manning the phones is Debbie Dewhurst, a social prescriber and link worker who normally works from a GP practice helping people needing non-medical support.

She said:

“My role here has completely changed, normally I am looking at how to get people out into the community to get support from a group and at the moment I am persuading them to stay in.

“We are working with vulnerable people, arranging them to get their shopping done and their prescriptions collected and also helping with their anxiety and mental health.

“In milder cases we can arrange for telephone befriending but in more complex situations we will help them direct.

“I think the real heroes in this are our volunteers, who selflessly carry out acts of kindness in a safe way.”


Council Leader Councillor Alyson Barnes said:

“The quickest way to receive help remains through family and friends, but there are vulnerable people with long-term health conditions who are not able to do that and we are pleased that Rossendale Connected is providing a lifeline for those residents.

“They are also supporting people who have maybe lost their jobs or suddenly found that they have less income than they are used to by signposting them to appropriate services.

“It is important that no one feels alone at this time, we all need to help one another; some of the calls we get to the hub are just from people seeking reassurance at what is a strange time for everybody.”

The Hub is now arranging for multiple prescriptions to be collected at once so volunteers are only waiting in the pharmacy queue once before being able to distribute.

Anyone wanting help from the hub call 01706 227016.

To register as a volunteer contact Burnley Pendle and Rossendale CVS on 01282 433740 for an information pack. The process includes online training and residents can decide how they would like to volunteer.

To provide further support for Rossendale communities, the hub has set up a crowdfunding page. The Justgiving page will help co-ordinate fund raising and is looking to hit a target of £20,000.

The page will be a trusted route for the people of Rossendale to give to those local charities and groups that are working tirelessly to support the borough’s most vulnerable residents. The funds will be administered by the Council, but all money raised will be distributed to local charities and groups to deliver food and other support to residents.

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