Angus is laying plans for a six-month protection of its most vulnerable citizens to help them emerge safely from Covid-19.
More than 2,500 people across the district have already been identified as being in need of ‘shielding’ for a period of 12 weeks as part of those most at risk from coronavirus.
In the latest update on the authority’s response to the pandemic, the council’s top official said it remained vital to reach out to people who may not yet have asked for help.
Chief executive Margo Williamson said the authority has matched NHS datasets to the information it already held and extensive support is already being delivered to thousands through the Humanitarian Assistance Angus Response Team (HAART).
But the official said the “fast paced” nature of pandemic events meant it was crucial delegated authority was also available to sanction support for residents not on the shielding list but still extremely vulnerable due to their personal circumstances.
The latest meeting of the council’s Special Arrangements Committee agreed to further develop the Humanitarian Assistance Centre for Angus, headquartered at the Forfar town centre base of Voluntary Action Angus, one of the partners in the initiative.
Councillors agreed to deliver the initiative’s essential work for “up to six months in the first instance.”
It will include maximising the £602,000 Angus share of the £10 million Scottish Government Food Fund established to address food insecurity nationwide.
The chief executive added: “It is not currently possible to estimate what the financial implications of establishing and operating the HAART will be, but officers will take this forward within the additional funding that is being made available from Government for Covid-19 response and, if required, by reallocating existing council budgets in consultation with service directors to support this.”
Councillors will be asked to approve any dip into contingency funds, unless the actions come under emergency delegated powers.
Administration leader David Fairweather said: “I cannot recall a time when I have felt more pride in the capacity of our people to do good for one another, for the most vulnerable among us in particular.
“Their desire and commitment to help is immeasurable and I thank them for their fantastic efforts.”
“To have 1,100-plus volunteers in our taskforce is nothing short of staggering,” said the Arbroath independent.