A BOROUGH council is offering help during the Easter weekend to provide vital supplies to those who need it.

As more people request assistance obtaining food and prescriptions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Test Valley Borough Council has this week provided additional resources to community services partner, Unity, to ensure those in need get help from local groups across the borough.

As well as investing in Unity’s existing telephone helpline to increase its capacity, improve call handling and enable real time reporting, Test Valley has also allocated a pool of 12 borough council employees to help staff the helpline.

Anyone who is isolating and has no existing family or friend support networks in place is being urged to call the helpline on 0330 400 4116 or email UnityC-19@unityonline.org.uk.

The helpline is open from 9am to 5pm, seven days a week, including the Easter bank holiday weekend.

In more rural parts of the borough, where established volunteer networks are already in place, the council is encouraging residents to contact their local groups directly.

Residents across Test Valley can also use the Unity helpline if they are unsure if there is a support network in their area, or don’t know how to get in touch with them.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North, said: “These are extraordinarily difficult times and we need to ensure that everyone is getting the help they require.

"It has been so inspiring to see so many different groups supporting their local communities – and I’m hugely grateful to Unity for helping to bring this all together.

"I am really pleased that with the additional resource from the council, we will now be able to open the helpline for an additional hour each day and offer the service seven days a week, including bank holidays."

He added: “Many of these local resilience groups are well-established, and I’m proud of the work the borough council has done to support them over the years.

"They are doing such an incredible job. Others that have sprung up in response to the pandemic, such as Andover Self Isolation Help, already has an incredibly slick operation in place and a host of amazing volunteers offering vital assistance. My thanks go to them all."

A list of all village support groups can be found at www.unityonline.org.uk