Community Action Dacorum Making a Difference During the Pandemic

Living Magazines Community Action Dacorum

Community Action Dacorum is a charity set up to support individuals and organisations in Dacorum Borough and beyond. Community Action Dacorum offers local residents a wide range of services that improve their lives. From running the Shop Mobility program in Hemel Hempstead, to broadcasting Radio Dacorum, everything they do is run for residents by residents.

One example of this work is the Repair Shed, a series of three workshops around the Borough that allow people to come together to tinker in a shed, make friends and share their lives. The latest shed is being built with Sunnyside Rural Trust in Northchurch for people in Tring and Berkhamsted who want to get involved. Shedders (as they like to be known) fix things, build new items out of wood and metal and sell them to keep their shed running. If you would like to be involved with a local shed do email to register your interest.

The organisation has been focused this year on helping Dacorum residents during the pandemic. Some of the current projects underway to support you are:

Inoculation Volunteers

This is designed to provide volunteers to support the inoculation centres around Dacorum, providing the manpower to the NHS that they need to manage the flow of people through the inoculation centres that will be developed over the next couple of months.

The charity has recruited people to marshal patients, be patient advocates, ensure people remain well after the vaccination and to administer the program. They need a constant flow of volunteers, so if you would like to be involved, or you know someone who would do, email to let them know. It’s a real opportunity to be a part of history, affording volunteers a story to tell future generations about how they supported people in the pandemic.

One volunteer wrote this week: ‘I just wanted to say what an absolute pleasure it was for me to volunteer at the vaccination centre tonight. We had so many lovely comments from the public saying how smoothly the whole process went and thanking us for giving up our time. I am back there tomorrow and there for two weeks.’

The aim is to support the process of inoculating the community and therefore improve the experience of the patients (some of whom are fearful of the whole experience) and, by doing so, make our community a safer place to live.

Transport to Inoculation Centres

Feedback from the community has helped identify that for some people, the process of being called for inoculation, booking an appointment and travelling to the inoculation centre is confusing and complicated. With both Maxted Road, Hemel Hospital and Stevenage now open to Dacorum residents, transport has become a challenging issue for some residents, particularly the elderly, those with mobility issues, and those with underlying medical problems.

To address this the charity has a series of volunteer drivers who will be happy to help those who are struggling to get to the inoculation centres. They have also partnered with Masons Coaches to be able to offer even more people transport to and from their jabs. To access the service patients should call 01442 212888 and register, and they can be found a driver when they know their appointment time and date.

All drivers are DBS checked and vetted as the charity has been running Community Transport services for many years. Drivers collect the patient from their home, take them to the centre, wait for them to finish, and return them home again. Given that many people may prefer not to drive themselves to such appointments, it is hoped that this service will be a benefit to patients.

This community transport service makes a positive difference to the lives of people in Dacorum, by ensuring they have the independence to get to their appointment and not have to wait as long to be inoculated.

Digital Inclusion

This work aims to use the generosity of businesses and individuals across Dacorum, to re-purpose old IT equipment and send it out to people who are currently digitally excluded. Alongside this work, the charity will be offering people support and training to build their confidence and skills about going online and using online services.

If you received (or gifted) IT equipment [tablets, smartphones, computers, laptops, smart speakers etc…] over Christmas and you have older kit to dispose of, please consider donating it to someone who needs it by emailing about how you can donate that redundant tech to be used for the good of people in need in Hertfordshire. Do tell your friends, there is more demand than they can possibly cope with so they will be grateful for the donations people make. They are especially interested in corporate sponsors who may be able to donate more equipment either in one deposit or over a period of time.

The aim is to address the inequalities that exist thanks to the lack of IT equipment and IT skills, particularly in the current project where that is having a negative impact on public health. By doing this they make a difference to the lives of people in Dacorum, who will be able to get easier access to doctors, shopping, and importantly address their loneliness using virtual technology.