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Help for people during the Covid-19 crisis

Publication date:

Older people and other vulnerable individuals in St Albans District can ask for a wide range of help from voluntary organisations to get them through the Covid-19 crisis.

Two key schemes operating in the District are Communities 1st’s Compassionate Community Connectors, and Harpenden Cares supported by Harpenden Town Council.

Communities 1st – Compassionate Community Connectors

Communities 1st, which provides support services, is stepping up its operations during the public health emergency.

Almost 1,400 new volunteers, called Compassionate Community Connectors, have applied to join and help people isolated at home.

Communities 1st is working with HertsHelp, London Colney Good Neighbour Scheme and other local charities, community groups, public sector organisations and businesses

Among the services that will be offered to people in need is practical help with shopping, dog walking, collecting medicines or other essential tasks.

Advice on how to connect with family and other people using digital services, such as Skype or Facetime, is also available.

To counter feelings of loneliness, Communities 1st can also arrange for a friendly voice to contact them by telephone.

Anyone who feels they could benefit from these services should call 020 827 5115 or email

They will then be matched with a Compassionate Community Connector volunteer and offered immediate support or referred to a partner organisation that is in a better position to help.

Stephen Craker, Communities 1st Chief Executive, said: “We are working closely with a range of partner organisations to ensure the elderly and other vulnerable groups can be supported during these challenging times.

“This is a marathon not a sprint and we’re not at the peak yet.  Hundreds of people have stepped forward to become Compassionate Community Connectors as the community comes together.

“We now need to match them with the people that are in need of their support. The sheer scale of what is happening is something no one could have visualised, but there is a tremendous amount of work going on to deal with it.”

Further information about Communities 1st is  available on their website at


Harpenden Cares

Harpenden Cares is a community led initiative, supported by Harpenden Town Council, to help support our community in these unprecedented times. There are four main parts to the Harpenden Cares initiative:

  • Befriending support – to avoid vulnerable people feeling isolated and ensure we are aware of any emergency support that they require;
  • Essential supplies - to deliver essential supplies of food and medication to vulnerable people;
  • Street level support - to support and encourage street level coordinators;
  • General advice and guidance - to share appropriate solid advice through an official trusted channel.

Carl Cheevers, Town Clerk at Harpenden Town Council, said: “Across the District we have seen some brilliant neighbourhood responses to the coronavirus led by our proactive Town and Parish Councils.

"Our initiative, Harpenden Cares, is drawing on the energy and commitment of our amazing local voluntary groups to deliver a community response to the challenges we are facing.

"At the heart of the initiative is a contact centre managed by the Harpenden Trust. I would encourage any Harpenden resident that is isolated and requires support or essential supplies to contact 01582 460457 to find out what help is on offer."

Further information about Harpenden Cares is available at

Other organisations offering help include:

HertsHelp: 0300 123 4044, This is network of community organisations working together to help you find independent support.

Hertfordshire Independent Living Service: 01727 847264. They provide a range of services to help older and vulnerable people stay healthy and independent.

Age UK Herts: 0300 345 3446, Helps make a later life in Hertfordshire a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.

Citizens Advice: 01727 811 118, or contact the Hertfordshire Adviceline on 03444 111 444 or from a mobile on 03000 3300 650.

St Albans and District Foodbank: 01727 613 019, Helps local people in crisis.

 Mind in Mid-Herts: 01727 865070, Creates opportunities for individuals to make choices, find their own solutions and build resilience.

 Carers in Herts: 01992 586969, advice, information and support to unpaid carers.

Ollie Foundation: 07715 311891, up to support families with suicide.

Herts Young Homeless: 03333 202 384, Empowers young people to be able to deal with the difficult situations in their lives.

 Relate: 0300 003 2324, a range of services to help you with your couple and family relationships.

London Colney Good Neighbourhood Scheme: 01727 261104, Monday or Friday 10am – 1pm.

Redbourn Care Group: 01582 794550,

Support For All: 01582 380910, a Wheathampstead group set up to help isolated and vulnerable people.

Contact for the Media:
John McJannet,
Principal Communications Officer
Tel: 01727-819533