A new report has revealed that an innovative coronavirus (COVID-19) response initiative for Greater Cumbernauld has accomplished a range of positive impacts and outcomes for local individuals, families and communities during its first three months of operation.
Cumbernauld CHaT Service Progress Report April-June 2020 is available for download and provides key information and statistics relating to the numbers and types of people living in Cumbernauld and surrounding areas who have been provided with a range of essential supports by local charity Cornerstone House Centre in response to the national emergency.
The organisation, with funding support from The National Lottery Community Fund and Corra Foundation, launched Cumbernauld CHaT (Community Help and Talk) Service in April 2020 with a view to providing a range of free practical supports, interventions, advice giving and chat services to help Cumbernauld citizens through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The provision includes a telephone helpline, open from 9am-9pm every day, and email support service which aim to act as a first stop shop for advice, guidance, signposting, social contact and practical assistance for those in the Cumbernauld area in need of help as a result of the crisis.
Cumbernauld CHaT Service has also been responsible for reaching to out to local individuals and families known to be lonely, isolated, vulnerable or experiencing disadvantage or inequality to provide specific interventions over an extended period.
The analysis report published today has highlighted that the project’s interventions have been invaluable in alleviating several of the negative impacts of the coronavirus pandemic for a significant number of people living in local area.
In particular, the activity undertaken was found to have positively impacted important areas of wellbeing such as food poverty, mental health, social isolation, financial health and physical health within the Greater Cumbernauld area during an extremely challenging season. Mary McNeil, Development Manager at Cornerstone House Centre, commented:
“As a Community Anchor Organisation serving Cumbernauld, it was vital that Cornerstone House Centre responded to the coronavirus pandemic in the most helpful, practical and comprehensive way on behalf of local people.
“Over the last three months, Cumbernauld CHaT Service has provided a lifeline for many underprivileged people and we are delighted that today’s report has evidenced that the initiative is making a real difference and has helped high numbers of individuals facing difficult circumstances.
“Around one third of all enquiries received related to individuals requiring support with delivery of shopping, groceries or prescriptions, whilst almost one in five requests were as a result of food poverty.
“Notable beneficiaries of the provision have been local citizens more likely to experience inequality and less likely to feel secure financially, emotionally, physically, or mentally. This has included older people, families on low incomes, people with physical or mental health conditions, minority groups and those currently furloughed by their employer.
“The success of the project to date can be attributed to its innovation, social conscience, volunteer-involvement, flexibility, independence from statutory operation and willingness to go above and beyond for the people it serves.
“Whilst we are encouraged by the results that have been reaped as a result of the project so far, there is still much work to be done in helping local people and communities over the coming months.
“Cornerstone House Centre remains committed to continuing delivering Cumbernauld CHaT Service until such time that the local area has sufficiently recovered and rebuilt from the coronavirus pandemic.”
A total of 281 enquiries were handled by Cumbernauld CHaT Service to the end of June 2020. The project’s busiest month was April 2020, which aligned with when confirmed cases of COVID-19 peaked and Scottish Government’s coronavirus restrictions were at their most stringent.
This was in addition to a further 232 adults living in Greater Cumbernauld who were specifically targeted for Cumbernauld CHaT Service telephone wellbeing checks as a result of intelligence which suggested that they were potentially vulnerable and at greater risk of being affected negatively by lockdown restrictions.
As part of Cumbernauld CHaT Service, Cornerstone House Centre published The Cumbernauld Coronavirus 101 Directory in April 2020. This details 101 organisations, services, supports and resources across the public, third and private sectors which were deemed be of use to Cumbernauld citizens during the coronavirus pandemic, consisting of a mixture of local, regional and national provisions.
The Directory identifies specific supports available in the areas of physical health, mental health, practical support, financial support, social contact, learning support, emergency help and advice and information. The reception to publication of the Directory, particularly amongst statutory and community partners in Cumbernauld seeking reliable and comprehensive sources of information on behalf of clients, has been very positive.
KEY IDENTIFIED IMPACTS OF CUMBERNAULD CHaT SERVICE
Upon analysis, the following seven key impacts of Cumbernauld CHaT Service were recognised during the period April-June 2020:
Food poverty has been relieved and reduced
Mental health has been improved and aided
Less people feel lonely or socially isolated
More people on low incomes feel financially stable
Vulnerable citizens have taken less COVID-19 risks
Health issues and crisis situations have been prevented
Local COVID-19 response groups are operating more cohesively.
If you or someone you know needs help, advice or simply someone to talk to as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions, please contact the Cumbernauld CHaT Service on 07940 569527 (between 9am and 9pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A member of the team will discuss via telephone or email the need that you have and seek to help in the most suitable, practical and compassionate way.