Our blogs

How we can help

Digital Advice Hubs can help people navigate the internet to access information, help and support online.

Our friendly and patient team can help with any issue. Just drop in to see them at The forum, Moat Lane, Towcester.

Research and Campaigns

If you've been the victim of a scam, discriminated against or suffered poor service or treatment from ANY organisation, we want to hear about it.

Sharing your experience with us means we can research the issue(s), build a case of evidence and then campaign to bring about change

You CAN make a difference! 

Click here to tell us your story

View from the top

We are all reeling from the impact that Corona Virus is having on our country. For weeks we watched what was happening in China, Italy and Spain and could not truly comprehend what it would be like. Two weeks ago, as I watched everyone going about their usual daily business through my office window, it seemed surreal that we were planning to move our entire service away from face to face onto a fully online platform.

Having a medical background proved a great advantage because it enabled our organisation to be ahead of the actions being encouraged by the government as I knew what was going to happen. Medical people plan for pandemics and hope they never happen. This time it did. It is interesting how hard it has been for many to fully comprehend it it is actually happening. Even still I think there are people who have not yet grasped how serious this is and how important it is to reduce the transmission of the disease to help our health service be able to cope with the number of people who will need hospitalisation. 

We knew we would need to be innovative to do more to help people through this crisis. One area that is most concerning when planning for a pandemic is ensuring that people have access to food if they cannot leave their home because they are infected or in a high risk group. The other problem is that some people have no money or no way of paying for food. Online shopping has become very difficult and many of our clients are elderly and rely on being able to go to the shop or to the bank to get cash for shopping. Many people have found their income has reduced or stopped, especially those on zero hours contracts and the self employed sole traders. Our phone lines are jammed with callers all trying to get access to information about how to benefits as they have no money coming in at all and probably wont for some time.

In the space of one week we set up an emergency food delivery service delivered by volunteers. We joined forces with one of the social media groups that was set up by local people wanting to help in some way. Volunteers have stepped up in droves and we have a new team of back office volunteer administrators as well as over 100 drivers who will deliver food parcels. We secured free food parcels from a food charity called SOFEA who deliver boxes containing a weeks supply of non-perishable food which our volunteer drivers deliver to the doorsteps of people who are in need. The volunteer administrators take the calls for food parcels and arrange the deliveries. The challenge was to establish a service that had no risk of cross-contamination, as we certainly do not want to place any of our staff, volunteers or clients at risk of being infected with Covid-19. Utilising our experience in community transport and supply chain logistics, coupled with medical infection control expertise, we have designed a highly efficient food delivery system where there is absolutely no physical contact between any of the people involved in the process thus the risk to all is extremely low. All the volunteers work from home and the drivers work alone and utilise prescribed practices to reduce risks of contamination such as not having any contact with the clients when delivering the food parcels and hand washing/using hand sanitiser between deliveries. 

We are also working with other groups who are doing amazing work to help the local community. Although it may be difficult to believe at this stage, some good things may come from this disaster. Already we see communities becoming much closer and people really looking out for each other. We still have a long way to go but we are strong together and we will get through this by helping each other safely.