Local Area Coordinators have answered thousands of requests for help during the pandemic.
Almost 15,000 requests for help in the community have been answered by Swansea Council’s Local Area Coordinators and an army of community champions since the coronavirus crisis began.
When Swansea went into lockdown the LAC team was quickly expanded to cover every area of the city with some council staff being temporarily redeployed.
Since then they have helped coordinate the response in the city with neighbours supporting neighbours to access food or shopping, pick up medication or make a friendly phone call when most needed.
Key to this has been a network of 2,600 volunteer street champions who have brought their own skills, experience and enthusiasm to support their communities so the practical help has not stopped there.
Local Area Coordinators and street champions have also helped connect older people with local gardeners, helped to get pets to the vets, they have arranged for a refugee family to have to a leaking bathroom fixed and have reached out to asylum seeking families offering support.
They have also been picking up recycling bags, helped to deal with incidents of fly-tipping, delivered free school meals and supported families in need of clothing and other essentials.
Cllr Clive Lloyd, Swansea Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Care & Community Health Services, said: “We were the first council in Wales to start to use Local Area Coordination to make our communities stronger.
“The service proved its worth long before the current crisis but it gave us a huge head-start in making sure there was support available for those that needed it when the pandemic began.
“Since then the LACs have responded to almost 15,000 requests but this does not give a full picture as that number does not include requests that have gone straight to community champions.
“I know from the many letters of thanks and appreciation that this service has been greatly valued by many in these last difficult months and I’d like to add my thanks to our LACs and the many street champions who have been here for Swansea when their support was needed the most.”
Find out more about the LACs in Swansea here.
Local Area Coordinators have team-up with the Wales Probation Services to help offer support to the community in one area of Swansea.
During the early stages of lockdown the LACs covering Townhill, Mayhill and Gors, permanent LAC Bethan and temporary team support Ricky, were contacted by Chris, a work supervisor from Wales Probation Services, who offered his support to the local community.
Before lockdown, Swansea was already benefiting from Community Payback work carried out by people Wales Probation Services supervise, and Chris was at the centre of this activity.
This included teams supervised by the service carrying out unpaid work that had a significant beneficial impact on the environment and the local community, including keeping public footpaths clear, painting fencing and railings and clearing fly-tipping.
But like with many organisations lockdown had impacted the way Probation was able to work so Wales Probation Services encouraged Chris and others to support the community in a different way.
Since then Chris and his colleague Nathan have been helping the community in a variety of ways including delivering emergency food parcels to residents, supplying food banks with food, shopping, picking up prescriptions, delivering recycling bags and even dealing with the occasional fly tipping incident.
Bethan said: “They have been invaluable to the community and they do not hesitate to offer support when asked. Residents have also been so grateful for the support.”
One elderly lady was desperately worried about her medication running out when there was an ongoing issue with getting it but Chris wouldn’t give up. It took three visits to the chemist and health centre, but he eventually managed to secure the medication in time, for which she was so appreciative.
Chris and Nathan recently collected toys and clothes from the two different Children’s Centres in Swansea for a local family.
Bethan received the following message of gratitude from the recipient: “Hello Bethan, blessed good morning to you. The clothing and toys just arrived. Want to say thank you very much, it is very much appreciated. Lots of clothes for baby Michael and toys too. The kids are so happy, their little faces are all lighten up”
There are already plans for the weeks coming where Chris and Nathan will be collecting donations for the Local Food Banks from people’s doorsteps.
More information on Wales Probation Services here.