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News Report Page 5 of 11
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West Lancashire Freemasons join Masons nationally to provide 120,000 people with 300,000 meals and 38 tonnes of food

WITH many families struggling to put food on the table Freemasons across England and Wales are currently working on hundreds of initiatives to help minimise the daily pressure on households across the UK. During this difficult time, the United Grand Lodge of England, the Governing body for Freemasonry in England and Wales, formed the COVID-19 Response Group to support those in need. The group identified food banks and people in vulnerable situations in need of help and set about galvanizing its network to provide food donations, deliveries, cooking fresh meals; as well as opening up local Lodges' kitchens to cook meals. Freemasons have been rolling up their sleeves and helping nationwide. In Bristol, 14 volunteer Freemasons are packing and labelling food parcels which are being delivered to those suffering food poverty. While in Bedfordshire, Freemasons provided 11 tonnes of food, in May alone. Elsewhere, food banks in North Cumbria, Windermere, Penrith and South Lakes are being supported with a ₤24,000 donation from Cumberland and Westmorland Freemasons. These are just a few examples of what is going on up and down the country. Here in West Lancashire, Freemason Ezra McGowan from Urmston; after suffering from the Coronavirus himself; has been delivering food to those in isolation and has already donated more than two and a half tonnes of food. Further initiatives have included the North Fylde Masons who received ₤5000 from the West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity, to fund meals that were cooked in the Masonic Hall and delivered to needy, isolated and elderly in the community of Fleetwood over the last few weeks.

In a similar project the Masons from Garston Masonic Hall came together in a socially distanced way to cook and distribute meals for the needy and isolated, as well as providing financial support for the South Liverpool Foodbank. The Masons from Litherland Masonic Hall raised over ₤1000 from local lodges and chapters to provide food parcels to health care workers and patients in local hospitals and care homes. Further South, in the Province of West Lancashire, Swinton and Eccles Masonic Halls together donated ₤500 to purchase and deliver, following a shortage, of bottled water and snacks for staff at Salford Royal Hospital. The Masons from Southport Masonic Hall with ₤5000 from the West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity supported a local struggling food bank with food and volunteers, and in Warrington, local Masons are collecting food from lodge members and friends to help the Warrington Food Bank keep up with the unprecedented demand. Lodges meeting at Park Hall, Charnock Richard, have rallied round to raise money and deliver food and snacks to the staff at:- Chorley, Wrightington, Ormskirk and Southport hospitals

Leader of West Lancashire Freemasons, Tony Harrison, said:-
"Even though these are difficult and unprecedented times, no one should have to go hungry. We are so glad that we are able to provide help and support to so many families, not just here in West Lancashire but across the UK, with a hot meal or food donations to get them through this current crisis. Freemasons have achieved all of this in just a few months and have also given their time to produce and deliver food to the vulnerable. We will continue to raise money and donate our time until we are able to return to normality."

Ambulance Service supports 10,500 patients with telephone care at home throughout COVID-19 pandemic peak

MORE than 10,500 people across the North West avoided an unnecessary trip to Hospital, in April 2020, thanks to telephone clinical assessment and advice from the Ambulance Service. North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) has a team dedicated to:- 'hear and treat,' which involves getting back in touch with people who have called:- 999 and are not in a serious or life threatening situation, but could benefit from the right care at home without an emergency Ambulance or trip to Hospital. The clinical hub, which comprises:- Paramedics, Nurses, Pharmacists, Mental Health Professionals, Dispatchers and Administration staff, will assess callers before arranging the right care for their needs. In most cases, this would be general self-care advice or a referral for safe care closer to home through a local Primary Care or Community Care service.

In the t3 months from February to April 2020, NWAS hear and treat rates increased by 35%. During April 2020 alone, at the peak of the COVID-19 Pandemic, 10,616 patients received telephone self care advice or onward referral; a 30% increase year on year. As well as supporting patients, the clinical hub offers telephone advice to Paramedic emergency service colleagues who are on scene with patients. It assists with decision making and can advise on locally available services which may be appropriate to care for the patient if the face to face clinical assessment has determined they are well enough to avoid a trip to Hospital. The increase in hear and treat reflects efforts by NWAS to boost its workforce in response to COVID-19 pandemic and ensure emergency resources remain available to attend serious incidents. Remote and home working was implemented to support clinical hub colleagues at increased risk of illness to remain at work, while maintaining service capacity.

Clinical Hub Service Delivery Manager, John Kelly, said:- "The increase in hear and treat is significant, as it comes during a period when demand was intensified. We always want to deliver the right care, at the right time to patients and to ensure we can quickly reach those who need us, we should only send an Ambulance when it is clinically required; not everyone who calls 999 needs an emergency response. The clinical hub continues to care for those patients who, despite not being in a life threatening situation, still need our help to get the most appropriate support available to them. It's important to highlight that in many cases, the clinical hub will refer patients to other local services in the community, which individuals may have been able to access more quickly themselves. Therefore we ask members of the public to consider carefully which health service would be most appropriate for them before dialling:- 999; if the problem is not a life threatening emergency, please visit:- 111.NHS.UK for urgent care advice or speak to your GP or Pharmacist. This helps us keep the 999 number free for the most serious incidents."

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