New hub helps vulnerable residents in New Forest during Covid-19

New hub helps vulnerable residents in New Forest during Covid-19

Published by Henrietta Creasey at 3:45pm 20th April 2020. (Updated at 9:25pm 20th April 2020)

5 minute read

More than 100 food parcels have been handed out in the first two weeks to those shielding from coronavirus.

Staff from across the New Forest District Council along with partners in Hampshire County Council and the charity Community First have got together to provide food,medicine an support to those most in need, seven days a week. 

The New Forest Shielding Hub aims to help those with underlying health conditions who have been advised to take shielding measures and have no family or friends available to support them. 

New Forest residents needing support call the Hampshire Helpline on 0333 370 4000 to be referred to the local team. 

Around fifteen council officers have been redeployed from other departments, including elections, parking enforcement, and health and leisure, to help and have delivered over 100 food packages in their first two weeks of operation. 

They have identified 35 households whose needs aren't met by the standard Government food parcel, to receive regular weekly food parcels that meet their specific dietary needs. 

Food parcel NFDS Covid 19
Jez, who usually works in parking enforcement, helping deliver vital food parcels to residents in the New Forest.

Rebecca Drummond, NFDC's Elections and Business Improvement Service Manager, now leading the Council's Shielding Hub said; 

"In a district of more than 76,000 households with a high proportion of older people, we know there are many people who are being advised to take shielding measures for protection from the coronavirus. Not all of them will have a local network of people to help them with the essential supplies they need. 

"It's really important that people know where to go for help and advice, to support themselves and their families during this crisis. We've got a dedicated team supporting residents and we urge those in need to please call for help." 

She added; 

"I couldn't be more proud to be leading a team of people who would ordinarily be doing very different jobs to provide support for some of the most vulnerable in our community right now.  Their unquestioning commitment to do whatever's needed, seven days a week is making a real difference."

Chloe, who normally works in Electoral Services, said; 

'I have had many people tell me how grateful they are for what we are doing. I personally feel like it is such a privilege to be doing this work, knowing I am helping all these people in need of our help.' 


One resident, who said she'd been struggling to cope during this crisis, emailed the team;

"I would like to say how very grateful I am for your very kind support. It gave me great comfort knowing I could turn to someone for help.'

Another resident who received help commented,

"I don't know what I would have done without NFDC's support through all of this, I am eternally grateful for your help through this time'

The team has been dealing with requests large and small, from essential food supplies for special dietary needs, to sanitary supplies like toilet roll.


A typical food package contains a selection of non perishable goods, such as pasta, rice and tins along with household items. Weekly boxes supplement this with some fresh food; bread, milk fruit and vegetables and cheese.  The food packages are delivered straight to the doorstep by the team. 

Food packages are provided in monthly or weekly supplies, adapted to meet any special dietary requirements. 

Pasta Pixabay
The food parcels contain staple items like pasta.


Residents in need of support contact the Hampshire Helpline on 0333 370 4000.

They are contacted by the local New Forest team to discuss what they need, from advice and information, to food parcels, prescription collections or someone to talk to. 

Depending on their needs, their request is carried out by the team at the Council's Shielding Hub or community volunteers coordinated by Communities First.

Tim Houghton, CEO, Community First said; 

"We are proud and humbled by the way the voluntary sector in the New Forest has been mobilised and is pulling together to deliver the essential life saving support that vulnerable people need.  We know this is a team effort.  Community First colleagues have helped mobilise a whole army of volunteers who have worked tirelessly to help with getting food and medicines or sometimes just to provide a friendly voice on the phone for people who are alone.  

We're grateful for the support and commitment of NFDC.  It's partnership working at its best and we're proud and pleased to be playing a vital part in helping our residents at this difficult time."  


Anyone needing urgent assistance with essential food or household supplies, collection of medication, or who are at risk of loneliness can contact the Coronavirus Hampshire Helpline on 0333 370 4000, available seven days a week from 9am to 5pm.


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