Crack team launched to help South Tyneside's most vulnerable through the crisis

A new crack team is gearing up to help South Tyneside’s most vulnerable residents through the coronavirus pandemic – with support already going out to hundreds.

By Ross Robertson
Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 3:29 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st April 2020, 3:47 pm

Many people in the borough are among the 1.5million in the UK the Government says must be “shielded” because they are at the highest risk from coronavirus, and countless more are also in need of support.

Now a new team has been set up to protect South Tyneside’s most at risk residents during the coronavirus crisis, and has already helped hundreds in need.

The Council’s COVID-19 support hub has already contacted residents in the borough who have been identified as extremely vulnerable under the first tranche of government data and have registered for additional help during self-isolation.

Picture c/o Pixabay

Operating from Hebburn Central, the hub has already taken more than 600 calls and delivered 200 food parcels to residents who live alone and have no family or friends to support them.

Councillor Iain Malcolm, leader of South Tyneside Council, said: “Residents who have been identified as being in the extremely vulnerable category have serious underlying health conditions which put them at a very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, so it is vital that they follow shielding advice to protect themselves.

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“For people who live alone, this may be extremely challenging on both a practical and emotional level. The hub has been set up to provide help and solidarity for those residents with no support network.”

South Tyneside Council Leader Coun Iain Malcolm.

Those identified as being in need of shielding will have received a letter or a text from NHS England.

The rigorous shielding measures include minimising all interaction and avoiding any face-to-face contact to prevent being exposed to the virus.

The hub will also provide support to any vulnerable resident that does not have an alternative support network to help them.

Coun Malcolm said: “I’d like to stress that this service is for people who have no other means of getting essentials such as food, medical supplies or who are struggling with their wellbeing.

“At this stage no one knows how long this situation is going to continue for, so we need to ensure that this service is sustainable and targeted at those who need really need it.”

Council staff have been redeployed to coordinate help and working closely with voluntary sector organisations and their community volunteers.

The support also includes regular welfare checks by the council as well as signposting to financial or welfare support, befriending services, mental health and third-sector support.

Those who are isolated in South Tyneside without any means of support, whether or not they have received an NHS letter can call the Covid 19 Support Hub on (0191) 424 7575.

The service operates from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 1pm, on Saturdays and Sundays.

If you’ve had a letter from NHS England identifying you as extremely vulnerable, please visit to register for the support that you need.

For further information about the local support available visit South Tyneside Council’s website at or follow our social media channels.

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