Somerset charity CCS (The Community Council for Somerset) has made a short film to recognise and thank its Agents, who are working hard on the ground to keep vulnerable people safe and well during the COVID-19 emergency. CCS Village, Community and Carers Agents have been providing support for individuals and communities in Somerset since 2012 and are well placed to adapt their services to provide much-needed help and support now, and in the months ahead.
On the 23rd of March, the start of the lockdown, CCS launched a county-wide universal referral link which within four weeks received over 32,000 enquiries. As Village Agent Julie says: “The past four weeks have been absolutely MANIC!”
Caroline Harding, CCS Agent Manager, says:
“I am in awe of the phenomenal way that our Agents are responding to the need of those who contact us for help. The speed with which they are dealing with enquiries, the care and understanding, the enthusiasm is second to none. They are all working from home, with challenging work environments themselves, yet have adapted to meet the needs of others.”
CCS Agents are working extremely closely with both the health services and social care to broker a range of support, phoning people to check on their welfare and connecting residents with local support groups. Many messages of thanks have come flooding in from people, CCS Agents have helped with deliveries of food and medication, advice on benefits and paying bills and the provision of hot meals. Thanks to the timely intervention of a CCS Agent and the ambulance service, an elderly resident in West Somerset received the urgent help they needed following a fall.
In all of this, CCS Agents recognise and applaud the incredible ‘army’ of local volunteers they work alongside who are doing a fantastic job. The level of goodwill and the number of communities coming together to support each other at such a challenging time is overwhelming. As CCS Village Agent Steve says: “Ordinary people have done extraordinary things.”
Raj Singh, CCS Deputy Chief Executive, says:
“Communities are doing a great job at looking out for each other across Somerset. Let’s dig deep now and look for those people that may have been forgotten.”
Keeley Rudd, CCS Chief Executive, says:
“We wanted to make a short film to say a huge thank you to our Agents for the incredible work they are doing. During this unprecedented time the calls to our services and out to members of the community to provide help, support and advice run into thousands on a weekly basis and the demand is increasing. All Agents (and other staff within CCS) are working extremely hard and, despite the volume, are managing to provide the same professional and personalised help and support and are receiving some fantastic feedback.”
CCS is asking everyone to watch the short film and to make some noise during Thursday’s ‘Clap For Our Carers’ for the Village Agents and all frontline key workers who are playing a crucial role in the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit https://youtu.be/zrh0hlMbn5E to view the film and you can find out more about the work of the CCS Village Agents by visiting their website: https://somersetagents.org