We know that in the current climate, many of us are experiencing new challenges and disruption in our day to day lives.
I'm extremely proud of the way that we in South Ayrshire are working together to help people through this crisis.
Many people in our communities need us now, more than ever, and our employees have really risen to the challenge, many volunteering to do completely different jobs.
To ensure we get the right support to those who need it most, we have set up a network of new or enhanced support services. These include:
Setting up a dedicated COVID-19 helpline which can be accessed 24/7;
Training 90 employee volunteers to staff our dedicated COVID-19 helpline, proactively calling over 4000 residents who are shielding and providing ongoing support to them to ensure that they remain safe and continue to receive food, medication and other essential support during the period they are in isolation;
Providing doorstep deliveries of 3,000 food boxes a week to children who are eligible for free school meals. These include enough food to prepare healthy and nutritious meals for a week. Each box also includes information on a range of activities for children and young people;
Providing toiletry packs, nappies, baby food and sanitary products to those in need;
Working with suppliers to establish a supply chain of ambient food which we are providing to those in crisis;
Distributing food to community groups;
Providing childcare and learning for 340 children whose parents are both key critical workers;
Providing a professional welfare rights and money advice service through our dedicated Information and Advice Hub;
Dedicating more resources to our crisis grant team, including training employee volunteers to help provide the service;
Working in partnership with Skills Development Scotland to provide support for people facing redundancy;
Providing vital business and funding information, and emotional and practical support, to local companies and business owners struggling to survive the crisis;
Processing and paying almost 1300 Business Support Grants;
Signposting to all available UK and Scottish Government funding, and providing help to hundreds of businesses with their applications to secure grants;
Working with eligible, newly self-employed people to access grants of £2,000 through the Newly Self-Employed Hardship Fund;
Providing £5000 to buy tablets and data so that local, young, care-experienced people who are isolated can stay in contact with others;
Coordinating volunteers who have registered with the national volunteering scheme;
Supporting over 30 volunteer, community and faith based groups by providing them with funding, information, food and volunteer support;
Providing employee volunteers to work as drivers on behalf of community pharmacies, ensuring that they can continue to deliver medication to those that need it.
This is just some of the work we are doing right now to help make a difference in our communities.
It's thanks to our amazing teams of employees and community groups, that we are able to provide much needed support to our residents.
From librarians taking COVID-19 helpline calls, to graduate interns helping with crisis grants and janitors, leisure attendants and employability staff delivering food boxes and medication, we really are working as one team to help people see this crisis through to the other side.
If you, or anyone you know needs help, we are here for you, please call our dedicated COVID-19 helpline on 01292 616 010.
The most up to date information on our services can be found on our website www.south-ayrshire.gov.uk.