The most vulnerable people in Bath and North East Somerset will be able to telephone for advice on a range of critical support during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic when a new community hub launches on 30 March.

The line will be open from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm initially with the aim of expanding it to seven days a week from 8am to 8pm as the service develops.

The telephone number is 0300 2470050. Please not the lines will not be open until 30 March and Bath and North East Somerset Council may experience high call volumes and ask you to bear with us during this time.

The Compassionate Community telephone hub will see teams from partners including Virgin Care, Bath & North East Somerset Council and the NHS come together to work with 3SG, who are co-ordinating the efforts of third sector groups and volunteers to help people who are most in need with food, mental health, wellbeing and welfare.

The hub’s telephone line will be able to link people in need with organisations or community volunteers who can help as well as providing self-help guidance.

Its first key priority is to provide help for people with serious health conditions who need to follow the Government’s “shielding” advice to spend 12 weeks at home. It will also provide help to vulnerable people with no access to local social support networks.

Vulnerable people with concerns over food supply, welfare or wellbeing should seek help from the hub but organisers are urging those residents who are able to safely get support from family and friends or to order their food or medication on-line, to continue to do so. It means staff operating the phone line can prioritise those who need the most help and get to calls as quickly as possible.

Nearly 2,000 people in the district have answered the call for volunteers made by local organisation 3SG, which is co-ordinating the volunteers who will be drawn in to provide support to people identified as in need through the hub.

Councillor Dine Romero said: “I’m delighted that our compassionate Community hub has been brought together so quickly to help residents who have to be shielded for three months and other vulnerable people who are isolated. However, for this to work, where possible we are asking people and communities to help each other and use local networks before coming to the hub. Many local volunteers are already active and it’s always best to use that local knowledge and strength first.

“I would underline that residents who are in critical need due to shielding or isolation are our priority.”

Anyone wishing to volunteer should not be in one of the vulnerable groups: over 70, under 70 with particular medical conditions, and pregnant women or be living in the same household as someone else who meets any of the above criteria. They should also not be experiencing any symptoms similar to Covid-19 including a fever or continuous cough.

More guidance on helping safely can be found here gov.uk/coronavirus-how-to-help-safely

Everyone is advised to follow Government guidance on staying at home but providing care or help to a vulnerable person is one of the permitted reasons to leave your home. Please visit the NHS website for more information.

For all updates on council services go to bathnes.gov.uk/coronavirus

More information on 3SG can be found at 3sg.org.uk