MEALS on wheels and medicine collection are among the services being offered as part of a package of support for County Durham’s most vulnerable.

Residents who are shielding in Willington, Sunnybrow, Oakenshaw and Hunwick are being supported with emergency food parcels, hot food deliveries, shopping, a medicine collection service and at-home social activities, as part of a Community Covid Response Force that has been launched in the area.

Greater Willington Town Council – working with Councillors Olwyn Gunn and Fraser Tinsley, and Durham County Council's 3 Towns Area Action Partnership – has launched the new service to ensure that help is on hand for those who have been left cut-off by lockdown measures designed to keep the country’s most at-risk people safe from coronavirus.

Fraser Tinsley, Durham County Councillor for Willington and Hunwick, said: “Covid-19 is a devastating virus, that has left sections of the community completely isolated as they stay at home in order to stop the spread.

“Through strong partnership working, we are ensuring that support is channelled to those who need it most and that any gaps in existing packages of care for vulnerable people are plugged.

“Through this Response Force, residents in Willington, Sunnybrow, Oakenshaw and Hunwick will be given the supplies and support they need to allow them to shield safely at home, with care wrapped around them.”

Cllr Tinsley said the council has almost £20,000 worth of support to use across the patch in the 12 weeks to the end of June, with assistance being channelled to those hit hardest by lockdown measures.

Fellow councillor Olwyn Gunn, who has also played a key role in shaping the support package, said: “For some of our most vulnerable residents, this pandemic will plunge them into the most difficult times imaginable.

“We want to protect the physical and mental health and wellbeing of those hit hardest by the pandemic, so we’re glad to have been able to get this package up and running to get help to those who need it.

“Though it’s a tough, tough time, there is a real sense of community – of everyone working together to support each other – and that’s been really wonderful to see.”

The project builds on existing initiatives that have been running across the county since the pandemic swept the UK in March.

To register for support or to volunteer contact GWTC on 01388-417725 or email helen@gwtc.co.uk