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More than 1,000 people sign up to website to help vulnerable in north-east communities

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More than 1,000 people have signed up as volunteers to help vulnerable people in north-east communities through an online gathering place.

The Grampian Local Resilience Partnership was formed to co-ordinate support efforts across Moray, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since its launch last month, it has helped more than 600 people with errands including picking up groceries from shops, topping up utilities and even taking dogs out for a walk.

The website, known as the assistance hub, has been set up to allow services to work together, be a source for information, and to make sure people can access the help they need.

About 1,100 individual volunteers have registered – as well as 475 community groups and 30 businesses.

Chief executive of NHS Grampian, Amanda Croft, is the chairwoman of the Grampian Local Resilience Partnership and last night praised those who had come forward to help.

She said: “We have, together, established a single source of support.

“The main aim of the website and phoneline is to allow people to reach out for help, as well as providing a way for people to offer their help safely in their own communities.

“In a pandemic, we know that people feel isolated and scared, and I am hopeful that they will see this virtual assistance hub as somewhere they can go to get the help they need.”

Organisations or people who wish to sign up can do so by registering online at www.gcah.org.uk and people who need help can call 0808 196 3384.

Meanwhile, Aberdeen City Council has extended its coronavirus helpline to 24-hours a day throughout the week to ensure that assistance is at hand for those in need.

Teams will provide welfare and emotional support, including offering advice on what to do if anyone is struggling to get food or pay their bills.

It can be accessed by calling 0800 0304 713, whilst updates on council services will be made available on the authority’s Covid-19 webpage.

The Marischal College-based customer service centre will remain open, with a restricted service in line with government advice.

And a housing association in Argyll is continuing to support its tenants despite closing all of its offices in the county.

Argyll Community Housing Association has set up a group to cope with the changing situation brought about by the pandemic.

The body closed all of its offices throughout Argyll and Bute and its 250 members of staff are all now working from home.

A customer service centre number on 0800 028 2755 is the route for any tenant inquiry which is then forwarded to the most appropriate member of staff.

Sheltered housing tenants are being supported with daily calls from their usual staff contact.

Alastair MacGregor, chief executive said: “We live in challenging times but the association’s absolute focus is to continue to support our 5,100 tenants and their families through our role as their landlord.

“There will be some physical things that we cannot do but we are committed to keeping homes safe and to provide the best advice and guidance we can.”

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