DURING the last five months Swansea Council’s Local Area Coordinators, alongside community members, have responded to more than 20,000 enquiries and requests for help from people isolating, or otherwise in need of support.
When Swansea went into lockdown the LAC team was quickly expanded to cover every area of the city with some council staff being temporarily redeployed.
Since then they have helped coordinate the response in Swansea with neighbours supporting neighbours to access food or shopping, pick up medication or make a friendly phone call when needed most.
They have also helped connect older people with local gardeners, helped to get pets to the vets, helped to deal with incidents of fly-tipping, delivered free school meals, supported families in need of clothing and other essentials and reached out to asylum-seeking families offering support
Before the crisis began Swansea had 16 permanent Local Area Coordinators and although shielding has now been suspended in Wales they will still be working hard to keep communities strong, resilient and well connected.
A further 22 council staff were redeployed to assist them with county-wide coverage and these will be returning to their normal day jobs in the coming weeks.
Much of the response would not have been possible without the 2,400 people who came forward to offer neighbour to neighbour support and many of these networks remain in place including newly established community groups on Facebook and other social media.
Throughout the pandemic, Swansea Council has also worked side-by-side with Swansea Council Voluntary Service and other partners as well as community groups and the 9,000 people who were told to shield have been provided with information about how they can continue to access help.
Cllr Clive Lloyd, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care & Community Health Services, said:
“Swansea was the first council in Wales to start to use Local Area Coordination to make our communities stronger.
“The service proved its worth long before the current crisis but it gave us a huge head-start in making sure there was support available for those that needed it when the pandemic began.
“The local networks of support established have looked different in each community and the ongoing support that will remain in each of these communities will look different to each other, but the message has been the same everywhere – we are here for Swansea.
“Although the LAC response to Covid-19 has been reactive to addressing the urgent and emerging needs in communities it has maintained the core LAC principles of focusing on people’s strengths and building sustainable supportive community networks.
“From the countless messages of appreciation and thanks, the council has received it is clear that our response has been greatly valued and I would like to again add my thanks to every single person that has helped deliver it.”