[Lynsey Kelly, Head of Community Safety, to present briefing]
Lynsey Kelly, Head of Community Safety, presented a report on the work of the community safety team and also the wider work done to support vulnerable people in the community since the start of the pandemic.
The Head of Community Safety advised the panel that at the start of the pandemic the Government developed a shielding list of chronic vulnerable residents who would be required to shield for a period initially of 12 weeks. However, the Council also identified a further 28,000 residents who should be added to the shielding list and therefore qualify for national support, for example, food delivery.
The Council has also worked with the CCG to identify other residents who may be also be classified as vulnerable who have been added to this list. In total, 80,000 Wolverhampton residents were identified across the city who may need additional support to remain safe during that initial 12-week period. A letter was sent to the everyone on the list advising them to be extremely careful when out and about and the support available to them, which included providing access to food and medical support and health and well-being support if required.
The scheme was expanded later with support from Children's Services to look at over 14,000 financially disadvantaged families who were identified as needing more support. The Leader of the Council was keen that the welfare of residents was to be the main priority during the pandemic. A range of initiatives were quickly introduced such as the ‘Stay Safe be Kind’ call centre helpline. The Head of Community Safety highlighted the important role of the community and voluntary sector in supporting local residents, for example helping with shopping and the collection of medicine.
The call centre was delivered with the help of redeployed workers across a range of different services. During a three-month period, the call centre received over 16,000 calls and emails for people wanting support. The valuable contributions of local business, Wolverhampton Homes and Wolverhampton Wanderers Foundation Trust in helping to set up the Food Distribution Hub was acknowledged.
The Head of Community Safety advised the panel of the range of other initiatives to provide information in different languages and to make services accessible to people who are deaf and hard of hearing. There is also work being done with other agencies across the city to ensure the Council continues to provide essential services to children and young people, for example The Virtual Squad and distribution of activity packs and games. Base 25 has been commissioned to do outreach work to engage with young people on the streets.
The Head of Community Safety advised the panel of work done with colleagues at The Haven to offer a range of support to families experiencing domestic abuse. The number of reported cases during lockdown was lower than expected and this may suggest people were finding it difficult to disclose domestic abuse.
The number of reported cases has increased since lockdown restrictions were eased earlier in the year. The service has work with DCLG and local support services to increase the number of emergency bed spaces and also provide extra funding to meet extra costs arising from introducing Covid 19 preventative measures.
The Head of Community Safety advised the panel that the service has worked with the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner on a regional domestic violence campaign. The campaign is aimed at encouraging people to report domestic violence. In addition, work is being led by the Homelessness Team to ensure that suitable accommodation and refuges are available for those who need to leave their home.
The Head of Community Safety advised the panel about the range of work done with local faith organisations across the City. The work is supported by weekly meetings with different groups.
The panel agreed to note the report.