A Cambridgeshire care community is encouraging volunteers from across the county to sign up to the National Care Force, which looks to help provide much-needed support to the social care sector during the ongoing coronavirus crisis.
Askham Village Community, a specialist rehabilitation and care group near Doddington, is appealing for people to sign up to the free online platform, delivered by a not-for-profit organisation that enables volunteers to book shifts at registered homes, of which Askham is one.
With more than 20,000 volunteers and 2,000 care environments already signed up to the service, the National Care Force has announced a bid to reach 100,000 volunteers as it looks to help fill staffing gaps both during and after the pandemic.
With projections suggesting up to 80% of the UK population could be infected with Covid-19 by May 2021, staffing gaps caused by the illness could add even more strain to social care services already stretched prior to the outbreak.
As is the case for the majority of care homes across the country, Askham has been impacted by the pandemic with staff having to self-isolate and work remotely when showing any sign of symptoms. Although the care group hasn’t had a recorded case of infection yet, it isn’t immune to the burden the virus is placing on the social care sector and is welcoming any support from volunteers as it looks to maintain its high standards of care.
Aliyyah-Begum Nasser, Director at Askham Village Community, said: “The National Care Force is a fantastic initiative that offers much-needed support to our sector, helping to direct resources to the areas that are most in need of them. At Askham, we’ve been very fortunate so far, having put stringent measures in place at the earliest opportunity and going into lockdown a week ahead of the Government’s advice to do so. This has meant, in terms of infections, we’ve avoided any outbreak so far. However, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been impacted.”
She continued: “Although testing is starting to become more widespread, the lead time in results is anywhere between 48 hours and up to 5 days. This delay means there have been periods where staff have had to self-isolate, being unable to work during that time. It’s these periods that have presented us with staffing problems. The services provided by the National Care Force though, help us to bring in extra resources swiftly, ensuring there’s no break in our delivery of care. With that in mind, we’re encouraging as many people as possible to sign up, helping to expand and grow this vital support service.”