The Coronavirus pandemic has contributed to a large number of families and individuals struggling, including many in the Wokingham Borough.
Wokingham Borough Council has been coordinating efforts and with the help of its partners in the voluntary sector offers a wide package of Coronavirus support.
One Front Door
Run by Citizens Advice Wokingham, the One Front Door is the fastest contact if you need help. For example, it will put you in touch with foodbanks in Wokingham, Woodley and Crowthorne as well as other charities such as Cowshed and First Days who have clothing and other items for children and families. One Front Door can also help with longer-term support such as advice on debt, benefits and housing.
One Front Door can do this because it works closely with Wokingham Borough Council and local voluntary organisations such as the Wokingham Volunteer Centre, First Days, Involve, Link Visiting Scheme, Age UK Berkshire - to name a few. We all came together to create Wokingham Borough Community Response at the start of the pandemic to create a unique support network for local residents needing advice or practical support. WBCR is an additional support net to the NHS and social services.
You can contact One Front Door website 24/7 or call it on (0300) 330 1189 Monday to Fridays, 9am to 5pm, and Saturdays, 9am to 1pm. You can also leave a voicemail out of hours.
Half-term support for children and families
During half term the following local groups are offering support to families. They include: Grub Club (Wokingham town); Woodley Lunch Bunch and Earley Help Hub, which are all providing lunch packs for children or ingredients to cook a meal at home. The council is extremely grateful to local restaurants, pubs and shops who are offering free or subsidised meals for children during this half-term; if you are doing so please let the One Front Door know.
And, for older members of the community or those with a disability, One Front Door can signpost to Age UK, which has an assisted shopping scheme as well as Keep Mobile who provide transport to supermarkets. Share Wokingham also supports the local community with fresh food and other items which would ordinarily be wasted.
One Front Door can also signpost to grants available from Wokingham United Charities and Cowshed that are available to replace broken cookers or microwaves.
Leader of Wokingham Borough Council John Halsall said: “Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic we have worked hard to support our residents who have faced a huge amount of pressure. No family or individual should go hungry in Wokingham Borough, now or in the future. I would encourage anyone who is concerned about not being able to afford food for themselves, or their family, to contact our One Front Door service for immediate support.
“We’re very grateful for the local businesses and others in the community have made the offer to support families during half-term.”
Your calls are welcome
Jake Morrison, chief executive of Citizen’s Advice Wokingham, said: “It’s important that people know that if they need help, they can reach out to us. We welcome your calls. Our dedicated and knowledgeable staff and volunteers want to help you find a way forward. We know that circumstances can be complicated, so our advice and support is tailored to your individual needs.
“Whilst linking people up with immediate support, such as food, clothing and other essential items, our advice and information helps you take control of the issues, equipped with high quality advice and information, and specialist support such as debt and financial management."