Vulnerable residents asked their views on support after shielding
As the government is no longer advising vulnerable people to shield following the easing of lockdown restrictions, Oxfordshire’s county, city and district councils are working together to contact clinically extremely vulnerable residents to let them know that help is still available and to ask them what future support they may need.
Residents who had been shielding during the pandemic or who are clinically extremely vulnerable will receive a letter with information about support, including information about the Move Together initiative and inviting them to fill in an anonymous survey about their experiences after shielding. The feedback from the survey will help the councils plan the next steps of support for residents who might get very unwell from coronavirus.
On 1 April 2021, the advice about shielding was put on hold and people who are clinically extremely vulnerable can follow the same guidance as everyone else on how to stay safe and help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “COVID-19 is still very much with us and we know that some vulnerable people who were shielding during the pandemic will still feel anxieties. We’re keen to offer support but we also want to hear from them as to what kinds of support would be best. Hearing this first-hand feedback will help Oxfordshire’s councils shape plans looking forward to Autumn and Winter.”
The county-wide efforts to get in touch with all clinically extremely vulnerable residents has been led by South Oxfordshire and Vale of the White Horse District Councils on behalf of Oxfordshire County Council, Oxford City Council, West Oxfordshire District Council and Cherwell District Council, to ensure a joined-up approach to check in with all those who may still need support.
Cllr Maggie Filipova-Rivers, Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing at South Oxfordshire District Council said: “We’d love to hear from residents who were shielding during the pandemic. Please do tell us what we can do to help via the survey – this valuable feedback will help the councils across Oxfordshire plan how we can best support them, and especially those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.”
Cllr Helen Pighills Cabinet Member for Healthy Communities at Vale of White Horse District Council said: “Some people will have made the necessary changes to adjust back to a ‘new normal’, but for those who are finding it difficult support is still available so please do get in touch.
“Even though the country is opening back up and the government is no longer advising people to shield, the councils remain committed to supporting residents throughout this pandemic. As we know, Coronavirus has not gone yet – and so planning the next steps of support are vital to those most vulnerable in our county.”
Councillor Louise Upton, Cabinet Member for Safer, Healthier Oxford, said: “We know many people have made their own adjustments, but others still need support and it is still available. If you receive a letter please fill out the survey, even if it’s to tell us you don’t need support. We want to use our resources to get the right help to the right people, so every response counts.”
Cllr Andrew McHugh, Lead Member for Health and Wellbeing at Cherwell District Council, said: “The last 18 months have been difficult for us all but particularly more so for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable. As we start to move towards the new normal, we want to hear the views, experiences and fears of the clinically vulnerable through this survey. This will help us to help them to get back to doing the things they love whilst staying safe.”
The survey only takes a couple of minutes and is entirely anonymous. The deadline for responses is Sunday 19 September.
Note for Editors
Earlier this year a new county-wide programme “Move Together” launched to support hundreds of Oxfordshire residents most affected by Covid-19 to move more and protect their health and wellbeing.
Move Together is co-ordinated by Active Oxfordshire and the city and district councils working with them to provide support that is needed. The support provided is personalised to each individual based on their specific needs and is provided by physical activity specialists.
You can find out more about Move Together via this website www.getoxfordshireactive.org/move-together
Link to survey: Residents can respond to the survey using the following link to the county council website: https://letstalk.oxfordshire.gov.uk/south-oxfordshire-cev
Any residents that need help or support can contact our Community Hub
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