What support is available through Community Services?

The council is currently coordinating a range of support services as well as signposting to other agencies.  This includes the provision of food parcels in certain circumstances, signposting to food and medication delivery services and promoting volunteering activities as well as funding opportunities.

What happens when I get in touch with Community Services?

When you ring 028 9244 7713 the call handler will ask for your contact details and address.  They will also ask what support you would like.  Depending on the request you may be told that one of our Area Coordinators will call you back to work out the detail of the support you may be eligible for.  However, if the call handler can help with your enquiry straight away the call will be logged and your enquiry closed.

You will be asked to consent to your contact details being shared with other council departments / support organisations.

If you email Community Services or complete the form online someone will respond to you within 24 hours.  However if this is longer please bear with us as we are experiencing a high volume of enquiries.

Am I eligible for a food parcel from the council?

Food parcels are only being given to those who meet all three of the following criteria:

  1. You are in receipt of a shielded letter from your GP / considered vulnerable and have to stay at home
  2. You have no other means of accessing food
  3. You do not already receive a regular food parcel or delivery through another means.

How do I know if I am vulnerable?

If you received a ‘shielding’ letter from your GP you are classed as vulnerable.  However, you will not be eligible for a food parcel if you are able to access food through online shopping or friends and family support.

If I did not receive a ‘shielding’ letter can I get emergency food support?

You may be eligible for support from your local food bank or local community group if you are currently out of work, furloughed or on benefits and are struggling with payments due to the unexpected additional cost of lockdown.  The Area Coordinators will be able to advise you about this.

Is everyone in our house eligible for a food parcel?

One vulnerable person in your house may mean others in your house are unable to leave, to protect that person.  If this is the case all of the people in your house are eligible for food parcels.

Will I get a food parcel every week?

If you are eligible you will be given a food parcel every week until your circumstances change.  However, you might only require a food parcel until your immediate crisis passes and other support is arranged for you instead.  Your Area Coordinator will be able to advise you on this.

At present the Department for Communities Food Parcel scheme is operational until the end of June 2020.

What if my circumstances change?

We are currently experiencing a high demand for food parcels. To ensure we can continue to deliver food parcels to those who need them the most please let us know if your circumstances change, for example:

  • You no longer need a food parcel
  • You need a food parcel less frequently
  • You can now get a supermarket food delivery slot or a friend is bringing you shopping.

Contact our Community Services Team on Tel: 028   9244 7713 or email: community.services@lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk  to keep us up-to-date.

What about older and ill people who can’t lift the food parcel?

If you are unable to lift or carry the food parcel from your doorstep, you should highlight this to the call handler taking your request and the necessary arrangements can be made.

Can I get food for my children who usually get free school meals?

As a result of school closures due to the Coronavirus outbreak, you may be eligible for a payment direct to your bank account if you have already been assessed as eligible for free school meals.

For more information on the free school meals payments see Frequently Asked Questions on the EANI website.

I am unable to get a slot for delivery of online shopping.  Who can help with this?

The Department for Communities NI has worked with the Health and Social Care Board to put a system in place to help those people who have been contacted by their GP advising that they should self-isolate to secure a prioritised online delivery slot with Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Iceland.

To register your interest, you first must complete a short online form on NI Direct.  Please visit NI Direct at www.nidirect.gov.uk/services/priority-online-food-delivery

Some of the smaller retailers have responded quickly to provide deliveries.  Spar, Eurospar and Vivo stores are now offering home delivery to help those who are unable to get access to grocery deliveries.

We have developed a Community Services Directory which enables you to easily find nearby delivery options, local shops, community support or even online church services.  You can access it at:  communitysupport.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/ 

In addition, there is an army of volunteers in place, who are working through the Local government Covid 19 Hubs and will provide help with shopping and delivery for those who need it.  If you would like information on this please contact our Area Coordinators on 028 9244 7713 or by email community.services@lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk every day from 9.00am - 5.00pm.

Can someone collect my shopping?

Our Area Coordinators will be able to put you in touch with local volunteers who may be able to collect your shopping.  Many local shops are now offering delivery services which were not available previously.

Can someone collect my prescriptions?

The council is partnering with the Community Development and Health Network to coordinate volunteer organisations throughout the area to collect and deliver medication to patients and provide volunteer support to help within community pharmacies.  You can request this help through the Area Coordinators in the council.

How do I become a volunteer?

We have had a fantastic response to supporting our local community to date. You can play a vital role in volunteering and there are many opportunities through our existing community organisations.

Volunteer Now has launched a new online campaign #HelpEachOther to support those who wish to volunteer for COVID-19 related opportunities and also for those organisations which require the support of volunteers to deliver their services to those who need it most.  For more information please go to the Volunteer Now website: www.volunteernow.co.uk/volunteering/helpeachother

The Health and Social Care Board has been working with the Community Development and Health Network (CDHN) to coordinate volunteer organisations who will support community pharmacies which have been experiencing a very high demand for their services. Under this arrangement, the CDHN will coordinate volunteer organisations throughout Northern Ireland to collect and deliver medication to patients and provide volunteer support to help within community pharmacies. This could include assisting controlling the numbers allowed into pharmacies to maintain social distancing requirements. Community groups with Access NI checked volunteers and pharmacies can find out more about the scheme at: www.cdhn.org/community-support-community-pharmacy

The HSC Workforce Appeal has been established by the Department of Health to manage the recruitment and deployment of healthcare professionals and non-healthcare workers across the health and social care system during the outbreak of Covid-19.  You can find more information at: www.hscworkforceappeal.co.uk

What grants are available to help Voluntary and Community Groups?

We are now closed to new applications under the council’s COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Community Response Fund (as of 24 April 2020) however there are a number of funding opportunities available to Voluntary and Community Groups that we are promoting on our website. Please visit the following link to find out more: www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/communityhelp/funding-opportunities