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2,000-plus register to help Island community

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MORE than 2,000 people have answered the call to help their fellow Islanders during the coronavirus crisis – and the government has now launched a new scheme to make it easier for people to ask for support.

Malcolm Ferey, chief executive of Citizens Advice Jersey (27829087)

Over 170 businesses have also registered with the government’s community task force to assist those who might not be able to get out to shop, or who have other needs.

After the Island was put into lockdown on Monday, the government launched a scheme called Connect Me, which includes an online form that people can fill in to explain what help they require if they cannot get out of their home.

A government community task force was also set up to co-ordinate efforts with the parishes and the voluntary and community sectors in response to coronavirus.

Chief executive of Citizens Advice Jersey Malcolm Ferey, the volunteer co-ordinator for the task force, said: ‘As an Island community we have a long tradition of looking after one another and now it is more important than ever that we make sure our neighbours, friends and loved ones are able to get the help that they need, and that the most vulnerable in our community, who may not have support structures, are protected.’

The Connect Me form is available online at gov.je or, alternatively, people can call the coronavirus helpline – 445566 – or their parish hall.

The new scheme will co-ordinate volunteers, provide information to people who require it and address their critical needs.

Social Security Minister Judy Martin, who is heading up the task force, said: ‘During these unprecedented times, keeping everybody safe and well is our absolute focus and I want to reassure Islanders that help is available.

‘Over 2,000 individuals and 170 businesses are registered with us to provide help and this help is being deployed to deliver critical services such as Meals on Wheels and the Salvation Army Food Bank.

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‘Although the announcement that Islanders must now stay at home to help reduce the spread of coronavirus was made to help save lives, we realise that it will bring about a wide range of needs and concerns, particularly from the most vulnerable in our community. That is why we have launched Connect Me – to ensure that we are connecting those in need with the help available, quickly and safely.

‘For anybody who is struggling, or who needs a bit of support through this challenging time, please get in touch either via the coronavirus helpline, by completing the Connect Me form or by contacting your parish hall.’

The Connect Me scheme is designed to address four key areas: critical needs, which includes food deliveries and dog walking for those unable to leave their homes, providing information, co-ordinating new volunteers and support for voluntary and community organisations.

The Connect Me form is available on gov.je.

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