City of Wolverhampton Council will start delivering food parcels to its most vulnerable residents early this week.
The council is stepping in to assist those classed as being most at risk from coronavirus and have no other support network to help them.
It will also support those who are in the greatest need beyond the relatively small highest risk group who will receive a Government letter and food offer.
The council has its own database, created with the help of GPs, of around 35,000 residents who are also classed as vulnerable during the current crisis due to age or pre-existing health conditions. It has written to them advising them how to get help.
City of Wolverhampton Council is believed to be one of the first in the country in a position to start providing vital supplies at scale to people in need who are following national guidance to self-isolate and stranded at home.
The council has developed its own local scheme to provide immediate assistance to vulnerable people. It has already taken delivery of items sourced from a private sector supplier and is also awaiting a delivery of items promised by Central Government.
The council has converted its WV Active Aldersley leisure centre into a food distribution hub in just a few days. The 26000 sq ft sports hall will be used to store and sort the food and an 8,000 sq ft marquee has been built outside. A fleet of 40 delivery vans will also operate out of the centre.
Hundreds of council staff are being redeployed to run the hub 24/7 and deliver the supplies. The hub will have the capacity to deliver 30,000 parcels a week if required.
Free parcels containing basics like bread, pasta, cereal, tinned fruit, long-life milk and toilet roll will be delivered to the doors of those most in need.
People will also receive a special newspaper containing information, advice, guidance and ideas to help people stay safe.
Councillor Ian Brookfield, Leader of City of Wolverhampton Council, said:
“There is no time to lose, we have moved quickly so that we can start delivering food to people who have no other support network from next week.
“We know there are people out there who have no friends or family to call upon and are feeling scared right now because they can’t go out and the cupboards are running out of food. We are here for those people.
“And of course, if we can help as many vulnerable people as possible stay safe at home, we are helping them to protect themselves – and their loved ones – and also supporting our fantastic NHS colleagues who are in the frontline of the fight against this virus.”
“As a council, working with our NHS colleagues, we have written out to thousands of our vulnerable residents and have provided details of how to contact us if they need help.
“That might not be a food parcel, they can also call us if they need someone to go to the shop for them or just someone to give them a ring and check if they are ok.
“City of Wolverhampton Council will do what it takes for those who need us during this national emergency.”