The Welsh Government has today announced an initial fund of £24m to support Wales’ voluntary sector in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The funding will provide immediate support for Wales’ most vulnerable and help coordinate the thousands of willing volunteers wanting to help others during the current crisis.
A further £15m will ensure people in Wales who not able to leave their home are able to get direct deliveries of food and other essential items to their door.
There are approximately 75,000 people in Wales identified as being at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. This week, each have been sent a letter from Wales’ Chief Medical Officer which includes clear advice to stay at home for 12 weeks – and a telephone number for their local council. This is the number they should ring if they need a home delivery of food and/or medicines and other essential items to their door.
The Welsh Government is also urging people to register their interest to volunteer safely during the coronavirus pandemic at Volunteering-wales.net. There are also opportunities for people who are self-isolating to get involved, for example taking part in phone and social media befriending schemes.
Deputy Minister Jane Hutt said:
“The generosity and kindness shown by thousands of people across Wales who want to support their neighbours, NHS, and local services is truly humbling. This week we have written to those people who should not come into contact with anybody outside their household and are being asked to not go out at all during this difficult time. Further support will be announced for those people who have been asked to take extra precautions due to pregnancy, their age or certain conditions.
“Businesses have been offering their company resources, buildings and even entire production lines to support Wales’ response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“While there are strict rules in place which greatly restrict peoples’ movement, we can still help others safely, without putting ourselves or others at risk. I urge people to visit Volunteering-wales.net to register their interest and get involved in the fight against the coronavirus.”
Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths added:
“Our new weekly boxes of essential food will be provided to those people who have been sent a letter by the NHS and who are ‘shielding’. This will provide essential supplies free of charge to the most vulnerable people in Wales. My message to people is clear – if you are unable to get deliveries of food or ask family and friends to help, we will help ensure you are fed.
“These new food boxes will not only protect our most vulnerable but help them follow medical guidelines to stay at home, protect lives and our NHS.”
Ruth Marks, CEO of Wales Council for Voluntary Action:
“We have been overwhelmed by the number of volunteers in Wales stepping forward to help at this time. The traffic to the Volunteer Wales website has more than tripled since Monday with over 10,500 visits on Thursday alone. Volunteer efforts in communities around Wales are vital in helping to take pressure off the NHS. We urge individuals who are able to volunteer to visit the Volunteer Wales website and register in their local area.”