Council and Communities work together to tackle the Coronavirus

Tuesday, 17 March, 2020

Birmingham City Council is working with the city’s voluntary sector umbrella body, Birmingham Voluntary Service Council, to create a coordinated community response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Ian Ward, Leader of the Council, said, “This represents the most significant public health challenge the city and the country has faced in recent years. Birmingham City Council is committed to ensuring that local people are supported and kept as safe and well as possible, and we are working with local community and voluntary groups to reach out to support our most vulnerable communities. It’s important that this effort is coordinated well and clearly and we have asked our partner BVSC to support us to achieve this.”

Brian Carr, Chief Executive of BVSC, said, “We have a strong and expert voluntary sector capable of working directly and with Council and Health partners to support all citizens, but especially vulnerable groups, older people, and those with underlying health conditions. There’s also a whole range of volunteers and community-level initiatives able to ensure that local people are supported in being as healthy and connected as they can be in the challenging times ahead.”

The new initiative will work through existing local neighbourhood structures, voluntary groups, and local elected members to ensure that all parts of the city have access to support, advice, and practical help. In addition, specialist voluntary organisations with expertise in key areas such as older people, lung health, cardiovascular conditions, disabilities, homelessness, mental health and bereavement support will be called on to work together to support those most at risk.

In addition, BVSC will be coordinating effort with the wide range of grassroots support that has sprung up in the wake of the virus. Brian Carr commented, “It is fantastic to see all the offers of community support that this crisis has stimulated. We want to nurture this goodwill and ensure it is fully supported and aligned with existing plans. We are working with the Council and the city’s voluntary sector to mobilise quickly in a way that minimises risks and protects citizens both from the effects of the virus, and from the more negative effects of the necessary social measures that are being implemented to limit the spread of the disease. Working together, we know we can get through this.”

If you are a community group which has developed or is developing a response to the coronavirus outbreak, BVSC wants to hear from you. Please contact comms[at]bvsc[dot]org or call 07388 376 945