The COVID-19 response hub began at the start of the pandemic, and has supported residents throughout Lewisham in three main areas – support with food, befriending and practical assistance. The five resident facing organisations which came together are Lewisham Local, Voluntary Services Lewisham, Lewisham Foodbank, Age UK Southwark and Lewisham and Lewisham Council.
As we move into the recovery phase, our commitment to Lewisham residents through this unprecedented time remains. With over 11,000 requests completed since March 16 2020, we are using all of the lessons learned to create a sustainable approach to support residents and communities going forward.
From 31 August we are creating Community Connections Lewisham, a new service built by the partners who have been an integral part of the COVID-19 response hub. This service also builds on the existing Community Connections services which has been connecting residents to the appropriate organisations through social prescribing for over 7 years.
We are now reshaping the service to become more resident facing to continue support for befriending, practical assistance, finding social and leisure activities and general signposting to appropriate partners.
To that end Community Connections Lewisham will continue to be a partnership of Lewisham Local, VSL, Age Southwark and Lewisham and work closely with Lewisham Foodbank.
We have listened to what Lewisham residents need and with recession approaching, we also have a free phone advice line run by Advice Lewisham for residents to receive information, advice and guidance, especially important during times of financial hardship. Advice Lewisham will become a key external signpost to support individuals and families going through financially challenging times.
Support with food was a key part of the hub’s service. Lewisham Foodbank will continue to provide emergency support to residents who find themselves in financial crisis and unable to afford food https://lewisham.foodbank.org.uk/covid-19/
For general support and triaging to relevant partners and organisations
Call Community Connections Lewisham 0330 058 3464 Monday-Friday 9.30am – 4pm who can:
- Connect residents with groups and communities, and enable access to social opportunities
- Help with staying active
- Access befriending and practical assistance
- Help find new opportunities for employment, training and learning
- Help with volunteering and participating in local projects
The existing SAIL website will be updated and re-purposed as the new online referral portal to the service by end of September.
For information, advice and guidance about bills, work, renting or family matters
Call Advice Lewisham 0800 231 5453, Monday-Friday 9.30am -12.30pm and 1.30pm – 4pm who can offer:
- Multi-Lingual support
- Applying for Benefits or Food vouchers
- Specialist Immigration advice
- Specialist Debt advice
- Housing or Employment issues