On the BBC Special New tonight, people would have heard Robert Jenrick (Minister for Housing, Communities and Local Government) speak about the establishment of local community hubs, to deliver the governments strategy for looking after the most vulnerable members of the community.

On Thursday over 20 organisations met at Romney Marsh Day Centre (the first and only face to face meeting) to hear from Martin Whybrow on how the first of these community hubs was being set up in Hythe. Following the meeting you will be pleased to know that ROMNEY MARSH COMMUNITY SUPPORT HUB is being established at the Romney Marsh Day Centre (RMDC).

The initial set up is being organised by myself, Jon Wilson (Romney Marsh Day Centre, CEO) and Shuna Body (Kent Fire & Rescue). We are having daily call downs to put the infrastructure in place for a call-centre and volunteer focal point. We will be leafleting all properties on Romney Marsh, to make them aware of the contact arrangements and the services to be provided. This will galvanise what many local councils were already planning to put in place.

At the bottom of this post, you will see a communication from Shuna Body, laying out what we are proposing to provide.

We have contacted all of the councils across the Marsh, to ensure all communities are involved.

We will be asking for volunteers, who will be DBS cleared and will be clearly identifiable to the people we are looking to support. The reason for this is that there are already instances of scammers taking advantage of the most vulnerable people in our community.

See below for Shuna’s text on the scope of the ROMNEY MARSH COMMUNITY SUPPORT HUB.

Paul Thomas, Chairman, New Romney Town Council.

The great news is that there is a willingness to work together, and indeed money coming from Folkestone and Hythe

A Romney Marsh Community Support Hub is being set up so that we can pool our resources, and not duplicate. Jon from the Day Centre, myself and Paul from NRTC will lead, as Paul and I have emergency planning experience and Jon some great contacts, and use of the building. It is envisaged that general enquiries will come in and be signposted to various organisations and specialisms

The main problems are that the Foodbanks are running out (Lydd got a big mention), and also Care Homes are struggling to get enough food. All the charity shops are closing down as of Saturday, and so those who have lost their jobs, no longer have that avenue to pursue for clothing. Other areas of concern are homes for disabled children shutting down, so the pressure of a family eg working from home with a severely disabled child to look after. Been quite a few job losses already, and so debt and I daresay loansharks could become a problem, together with domestic violence etc.
Jobs needed that would be covered by volunteers:

1. The idea is that someone would phone each care home in the area each day and see whether they were ok. We have a contact with the local supermarkets and would be looking at a scheme of a “Pass” permitting someone to buy more than the normal ration. Also sharing advice about making simpler meals etc

2. Urgent shopping and prescriptions

3. Comms team being set up with named people from each area passing out info ( so good to think of a couple of people from each area that could receive info)

4. Telebefriending – clients normally visited by organisations would receive a phonecall. This would be co ordinated by CARM (Caring All together Romney Marsh)

5. The hub would have a dedicated KCC worker from Children and Families

So the idea that people phoning into the hub would be signposted to the relevant section. Current volunteers have DBS, and new ones would be processed for DBS.
I could go on and on – but that is the idea. Sheila – I know Paul is preparing a briefing for councillors

Although everyone is aware of me being clergy – I am doing this under the banner of KFRS. This is because KFRS have set up a Humanitarian Team which includes me. So in a nutshell it gives me work time to commit to this.

So lots to do. Jon, Paul and I will be having a conference call 6.30pm each day – so if you need any issues highlighted please let us know.

These are quickly cobbled together notes so hope this makes sense !