THE HART Response Hub have taken 250 referrals for support since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

The hub, run by a team of Hart District Council staff and supported by Hart Voluntary Action and Hampshire County Council, provide seven day a wekk cover.

Their tasks include delivering food parcels, medicines and talking to those shielding from the virus.

It is part of the Coronavirus Hampshire Helpline for residents who do not have support from friends, families or the local community.

All those helping in the Response Hub have been redeployed from elsewhere in the Council and had to quickly learn how to use a new IT system and how to give the best advice and service to the community.

Claire, who moved from another Council department, said: “Initially, the calls were from individuals who were isolating and needed help with shopping. We do still get these but there has been an increase in those with mental health issues and more complex needs. These are the cases that take the toll on the caseworkers

“However, on the positive side having spoken to the client I am in a position, if required, to arrange and even pack up a food parcel, which can then be delivered by one of our field officers. I can organise a volunteer to pick up prescriptions or I can pass them over to local services so that they can receive more professional help.”

Councillor Stuart Bailey, portfolio holder for Community, said: “This is a vital service for residents, without which many people would have struggled to meet their most basic of needs.

“The Hub team has been working tirelessly on their behalf in a scenario none could have imagined but for which they willingly stepped up from their day jobs to help the community.”

n Call 0333 370 4000 for help. The line is open every day from 9am to 5pm.