Safer & Supportive Salisbury: Meeting the Challenges of Salisbury’s Lockdown

Meeting at their inaugural AGM on Tuesday 3 November by Zoom, members of Safer and Supportive Salisbury reviewed the group’s achievements in meeting the challenges of isolation, loneliness and the day to day needs of local residents during the Covid19 pandemic lockdown.

Anne Trevett, who initiated the Safe Places scheme and continues to work with the group, said: “It is a credit to the individuals involved that so many small but important projects have been delivered with virtually no central funding, other than that attracted for delivery of the projects themselves. From the very first day of the lockdown in March, group members rallied to help and support members of the Salisbury community in need, even before requests had been made.”

Since March 2020 Safer and Supportive Salisbury (SaSS) achievements include developing and circulating a local newsletter with up to date information and advice now circulating by email to around 250 people/organisations and further cascaded.  SaSS set up a Facebook page and Twitter account and recruited an administrator as a self-employed contractor. The group has begun working towards charitable status and obtained further funding to develop a SaSS website. Work has started on a communications plan and the design of the spec to commission a website. Members of the group contributed to the huge success of Silver Salisbury under lockdown by supporting our Older People’s Champion. A similar initiative is being planned for Carers.

Although SaSS has been going since 2017, having grown out of the informal local group set up to introduce the Safe Places scheme in Salisbury under the aegis of the Wiltshire Council Community Safety Partnership, this was the first AGM of the group. Safe Places was seen as just one of the initiatives that would help make a community safe and supportive to older and vulnerable people. The group has developed and grown with no financial support to the organisation, virtually all funding attracted being for specific projects.

Since 2018 SaSS has taken on a lead role locally on community-based health and wellbeing initiatives in the city, networking with voluntary, statutory and private providers and delivering “small projects that make a difference”.

The Community Champions for Older People and Carers are key members of the Group. SaSS supports the Health and Wellbeing Grant process through a panel that reviews bids and advises Councillors on the Area Board. The group has adopted a strategy of making small pump-priming bids helping new projects get off the ground.

Successful projects have included: a printed guide to local dementia services, installation of defibrillators in the city centre, a guide to activities supporting people who are lonely and isolated and a series of Showcase Events bringing services together with people who need them in a user-friendly way. SaSS also undertook the much-needed refreshing of the Safe Places scheme in 2019.

In 2019 SaSS took the view that there was a need to look to the future and develop a sustainable way forward for the group.  An interim Steering Group was established, a new Constitution developed and funding sought and an award of £9,300 from the Lottery was made in March 2020 just as lockdown started. At the AGM this week the constitution was approved, the annual report and accounts were received and approved and a Steering Group was elected.

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