As the number of calls received by the three community hubs based in Folkestone, Hythe and Romney Marsh reached 14,000 a reminder has been issued about their purpose.
Set up in March and funded by Folkestone & Hythe District Council together with charities, the hubs are working to help those who are vulnerable and isolated with no family nearby to support them during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Volunteers have given up their time and potentially put their own health at risk to deliver essentials, such as food and medicines, but the goodwill of the hub teams is being stretched by the potential misuse of their generosity.
Examples of the misuse include a volunteer delivering a prescription who found that the recipient had gone out for a drive. The contents of a food delivery, in another instance, were rejected because the items were not fully organic despite warnings that substitutions may have to be made.
Cllr Jenny Hollingsbee, Folkestone & Hythe District Council Cabinet member for Communities said: “It is disappointing to hear about this small minority of instances and we must repeat the advice that the hubs are only for those who really need help.
“What this wonderful team of volunteers is providing is amazing but it must be remembered that it is for those who have no-one else to turn to. Their friends may be elderly or isolating themselves and not able to help and family members may live too far away.
“I have read many of the messages in the thank you notes and cards which have been sent and have been deeply touched that together with the charities and voluntary organisations we have been able to provide a lifeline for so many people.”
The local hubs are open seven days a week. Due to the number of applications received volunteer recruitment is currently paused but this will be continuously reviewed. The hubs cannot be visited but can be contacted on:
- Hythe Community Support Hub – run by AGE UK.
Contact them on: email@example.com or 01303 269602
- Folkestone Community Support Hub – run by Three Hills Sports Centre.
Contact them on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01303 316186
- Romney Marsh Community Support Hub – run by Romney Marsh Day Centre.
Contact them on: Covidemail@example.com or 01797 208590
The council’s COVID-19 helpline is 01303 761116 (open from 9am to 5pm every day) or via email at Covidfirstname.lastname@example.org . Residents and businesses can find out about help and assistance available to them both locally and get signposted to national support. Residents can also feed back helpful information or concerns about their community or individuals.