Thousands of welfare calls made to Kensington and Chelsea residents

Thursday 7 May 2020

More than 5,650 vulnerable Kensington and Chelsea residents have received phone calls to check on their welfare as part of the borough’s Coronavirus response.

The ongoing programme sees Council officers telephoning people in social housing or temporary accommodation to find out how they are and to help with food, finances and general welfare as well as offer weekly or fortnightly follow-up calls.

The calls have so far reached out to 3,441 households in social housing with residents aged over 60, those who are remaining shielded and anyone under 60 with a known vulnerability.

A further 2,213 calls have been made to households in temporary accommodation to offer a range of support, including specific help and advice for those placed in properties in other London boroughs on how to access local assistance.

On top of the calls from officers, the borough is harnessing the community spirit which has been demonstrated during the pandemic with a new social media campaign called Online to Phoneline. The campaign is encouraging members of the community to call neighbours, friends and loved ones who cannot get online to let them know about all the support on offer – listed on the council website.

Kensington and Chelsea Council Deputy Leader Cllr Kim Taylor-Smith said:

“Our welfare calls are checking in on those who most need our support, and it has been heart-warming to hear how appreciated they are.

“The biggest need we are finding is from people who feel isolated, so we have arranged to call nearly 800 of our residents every week or fortnight to check how they are and answer any questions.

“Our community has been incredible too and we are encouraging people with access to the internet and the latest information to call friends and loved ones not online so they too know about the latest support on offer.”

If officers have been unable to reach residents by phone, follow-up communications have been sent by email, text message and letter.

While the majority of those contacted have not required any assistance, the most common request has been for officers to call back on a regular basis.

Other support has ranged from advice on accommodation and home repairs to assistance with shopping and even arranging for flowers to be delivered to a resident after the death of a family member.

Neighbourhood Business Support Manager Daniel Lewis received the following feedback after calling a vulnerable resident:

“I was always independent before, however with this crisis I don’t know what I would have done if it wasn’t for Daniel.

“He has helped with food and for someone to take my rubbish out; he has been wonderful and even contacted me over the weekend. It makes me feel good that someone cares and I’m very grateful.”

Another added:

“I feel so supported by RBKC and really appreciate the effort to check up on us.”

Residents classified as clinically vulnerable can contact the Kensington and Chelsea COVID-19 Hub from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week, on 020 7361 4326 or by emailing C19Hub@rbkc.gov.uk. The service can also assist older residents and those who are self-isolating and unable to shop for food or medical supplies.