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  • Writer's pictureAnn Molyneux

Working in Partnership with Peterborough Hub

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

Covid-19 has been hard on all of us and has left many people feeling isolated and alone, not knowing who they can turn to.

Like many organisations that sprang into action to deal with the pandemic and its consequences, Peterborough Hub was there to meet the needs of residents in the city.

Covering everything from delivery of food packages, prescriptions, shopping and well-being telephone calls, it set up a referral process where call handlers helped members of the community to access services.

Ness M Care Foundation (NMF) has been able to work alongside Peterborough Hub since the start of the pandemic last year.

We reached out to Nisha Beg-Khan, Think Communities Hub Navigator, to tell us a little bit more about Peterborough Hub and why it’s been so important to work in partnership during these difficult times.

She believes that by working with other businesses, charities and voluntary groups in the city, valuable resources and information can be shared. The Peterborough Hub has opened up potential opportunities which NMF can benefit from. Hopefully in the future the charity will be able to connect and network with other partners that can offer their services, maybe through fundraising, volunteering or by sharing and providing useful resources.

Tell me about the Peterborough Hub?

Peterborough Hub was launched in April last year just weeks after the first lockdown. The purpose was to respond to Covid-19 by offering support to local residents in Peterborough. Peterborough Hub has dealt with many queries and provided mental health support and an essential food and shopping service by working closely with other organisations in the voluntary sector and their partners.

Can you tell me a bit about the ways in which you have been working in partnership with NMF?

I arranged a meeting with Melissa from NMF to see what services they were offering in the city, and we agreed on a referral process for callers that would benefit from their voluntary shopping service. But the help the charity offered didn’t stop there. On one occasion Melissa kindly helped me with emergency transport for school children and also delivered a food parcel from the food bank. It’s been amazing working alongside NMF.

Can you give any examples of cases that stood out to you the most?

Case 1

I needed to organise school transport for two children whose mothers were told by the NHS Test and Trace app that they needed to self-isolate. There was a complication with the transport that was originally booked and I needed someone to pick the children up from school. Melissa kindly came to the rescue and picked up the children and dropped them off with their parents.

Case 2

We had one case where NMF were having difficulties with shopping for a client who had a disability and complex needs. Melissa asked me if I could get another organisation to support this client. I was able to ask the Red Cross to take over supporting them.

How many Community Support Hubs are there in Peterborough?

There is a County Hub that works closely with all of the local authorities including Peterborough and within the Hub here in the city, there are over 94 community groups registered with the voluntary sector.

How are they adapting to the ever-changing needs due to the pandemic?

Some groups have had to stop or delay projects and have channelled their funds into responding to the pandemic and the needs of the community instead. With the help of grants from our Communities Integration funds last year, they have been able to provide many services including befriending sessions and delivering food parcels to vulnerable people. Other groups have supported the Hub by providing interpreters and help with the delivery of medication.

How has NMF supported you in meeting some of these needs?

By offering shopping support for vulnerable elderly people in Peterborough who are unable to shop for themselves. As well as shopping for those who had to self isolate.

How many people have you helped over the pandemic?

Since April last year, we have received 2636 calls.

In your opinion, what are the three key things needed for a successful partnership?

Trust, openness and information sharing.

Why is it important to form and adopt partnerships working across organisations within communities?

Here are some examples of feedback we have received about working in partnership.

‘Working so closely with the Covid-19 Hub in Peterborough has enabled us to act swiftly together to provide the most appropriate services for older people, many of whom had previously not been identified as needing help. This approach has prevented situations from escalating further, reducing the need for much more intensive services.’

‘Working with the Hub has been instrumental in making sure that we could get the resources to those in need during the first lockdown. Staff at the Hub have always been diligent and helpful in sharing information.’

How has the pandemic changed and shaped the ways in which organisations within Peterborough have partnered and worked with each other?

All groups have put more effort into working together by putting aside any reservations they may have had before the pandemic. I worked with faith groups, charities, community groups, schools and housing associations. It’s almost as if it took a crisis to bring the city together. I am proud to have been a part of this response to residents in the city. It has been very heart-warming for me. Peterborough is full of community spirit and amazing people despite all the challenges it has.

How can people find out & support the Peterborough Hub?

Community groups or organisations, should contact:

Groups who have clients that need support, should contact the Hub on 01733 747474, option 1.

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