East Kent project deals with almost 30,000 calls for covid-related help since first national ‘lockdown’

Connect Well East Kent team member Gill Kennedy

A project in east Kent which helps people with everything from housing arrears to social isolation has dealt with almost 30,000 calls related to covid assistance.

Connect Well East Kent, which is managed by Social Enterprise Kent, works to signpost people to the best services to help with their issues.

Between March 23, when the first national lockdown began, and January 4, the  24 staff have been giving support to those impacted by covid restrictions, including getting shopping and medication to people.

Connect Well East Kent launched in April 2019, working with GP practices to support patients with engaging in community activities to support their wider health and wellbeing.

In its first year (April 2019-March 2020) staff dealt with around 4,000 referrals and in its second year so far there have been 2,578 referrals where people have received 12 weeks of support. In addition there have been 28,413 people accessing services due to the covid pandemic.

Connect Well East Kent contract manager Jack Packman said: “The service supports people over the age of 55 with general needs and under 55s with complex needs such as a learning difficulty or disability or managing multiple issues at once. “The issues that the service deals with are anything that affects your health and wellbeing which is non clinical, such as finances and debts, housing issues from paying rent to housing arrears or property maintenance, social isolation, home adaptations, low level mental health and much more.

“In year 2 so far we have received 2,578 referrals of whom received 12 week support, on top of the 28,413 people who have accessed the service due to COVID-19.

“The service has 24 employees, consisting of four Triage Community Navigators and 21 front line Community Navigators. It is anticipated by the end of year 2 (March 31) we will have supported around 4,000 people as part of the Community Navigation Service and over 30,000 people with COVID-19 support.”

In Thanet the pandemic has prompted 6,805 calls to the Connect Well team, including  1,364 for help with prescriptions and 1,785 where help was needed with food provision.

Area Number of Calls Prescriptions Food
Dover district 15,228 891 1043
Folkestone and Hythe district 3,148 320 579
Ashford 958 72 43
Canterbury district including Faversham 2274 369 1057
Thanet district 6805 1364 1785
Total 28,413 3,016 4,507

The service is funded by Kent County Council.

Find out more on the Connect Well East Kent website here

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