29 June 2020

Welfare calls have led to much needed help for vulnerable people in the East

Covid-19 has affected us all, but for some lockdown has been an even harder challenge than ever before. Despite the current circumstances and social distancing restrictions, the Group’s priority has been to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its customers during this difficult time.

Frontline staff have been essential in Flagship’s response to the pandemic; they’ve worked tirelessly to keep important services running, whilst providing much needed support for vulnerable customers. By carrying out thousands of welfare calls, Flagship has been able to protect those in need, without even stepping foot in their homes.

Amongst the 6,500+ calls, one call in particular has changed the life of a vulnerable customer in Suffolk. A housing officer spoke to Fred* early on in lockdown, she discovered he was without food, had a broken freezer and was completely isolated.

The Group’s safeguarding team moved quickly to arrange food packages for the customer through community service ‘Helping Hands’, who also cleaned the freezer and returned over several days to cook hot meals.

But further concerns were raised as it was revealed that not only was the man being financially exploited, it was suspected that his home was also being used to sell drugs.

Victoria Seales, Flagship’s Safeguarding Lead explained: “That one initial welfare call by a member of our housing team led to us discovering the dreadful circumstances that this gentleman found himself in.

“What initially seemed to be a fairly straightforward case of isolation resulted in us identifying far more serious problems which were impacting on our customer’s welfare. Immediately, we raised safeguarding concerns and moved to support Fred, alongside other agencies.”

Flagship is now providing the customer with meals on wheels, through its kindness fund and has worked with Helping Hands, who will be visiting him daily.

Victoria Seales added: “What this has clearly shown is how important it is to check in on people, such as through our welfare calls - it is not always clear what people may be going through. And, this case also demonstrates just how vital working together is to find solutions.”

*Fred’s name has been changed to protect his identity