13/11/2020 - Permalink

Winter Support Service launches

Related topics: Adult social care / Community / Coronavirus / Health / Partner organisations

A Winter Support Service has been launched to help vulnerable, and potentially vulnerable, Shropshire residents during the winter months.

WIPS befriending volunteer

One of the WIPS befriending volunteers

Commissioned by Shropshire Council in partnership with health colleagues, the Winter Support Service will support people to avoid a health and care crisis situation over the winter period and will connect them to a range of support.

The service will be delivered by the Wellbeing and Independence Partnership, Shropshire (WIPS), and will be an enhancement of the current wellbeing and independence service they offer which is also commissioned by the council. WIPS consists of five voluntary and community organisations:

  • Age UK Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin
  • Shropshire Rural Community Charity
  • Royal Voluntary Service
  • Oswestry Community Action (QUBE)
  • Mayfair Community Centre, Church Stretton.

The Winter Support Service will offer assessment and ongoing support to people identified as needing help, including:

  • Shopping and delivery
  • Connecting people to local support groups (eg hot meal deliveries)
  • Collecting and delivering medications
  • Telephone companionship for isolated or lonely people
  • Wellbeing home visits and follow-up support.

The service doesn’t offer a crisis response, a supported hospital discharge service or personal care; but it will ensure that people get the support that they need through appropriate referrals and signposting.

The free winter service will run until 31 March 2021 and will then revert back to the all- year-round WIPS services.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for adult social care, public health and climate change, said:

“I’m delighted that WIPS partners have been able to adapt and enhance their highly valued work as part of the entire health and care system’s approach to supporting people to stay well and independent at home this winter.

“The service will help the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (those who previously were asked to shield) and other vulnerable people maintain their physical and emotional wellbeing through the winter when the effect of COVID-19 remains serious and significant.

“I encourage people who feel they could benefit from support to maintain their independence at home to get in touch either with the council or the Winter Support Service and talk to us about what could be put in place to make a difference.”

How to contact and refer into the Winter Support Service

Any Shropshire resident who feels they could benefit from the service should contact Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9028 for more details and to be referred.


Primary care, Shropshire Council and partners will begin to refer those who have been in contact with them, into the service this week.

Referrals and enquires about this service can progressed by calling Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9028.

Link workers will discuss the referral with the person being referred (and if necessary the referrer) and put in place a Winter Support Plan. The link worker will liaise with partner organisations and/or other groups required, to provide the right support.

Further information

The WIPS partnership and the council have worked closely together since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The partner organisations have adapted their delivery models, supported people in different ways and demonstrated their resilience, creativity and flexibility by being able to enhance their core activity and deliver a Winter Support Service.

Over the winter months, pressures build within the health and care system as a result of the significant rise in the number of people admitted to hospital. The health and care system is affected by the increased incidence of infectious diseases, and non-infectious conditions such as asthma, are exacerbated during the winter months.

The challenge of managing the impact of COVID-19 when the health and care system is at its busiest will require an effective, robust and co-ordinated effort to ensure that the system is able to meet the increased demand for services and provide high-quality care and support.

It is really important that we support people to stay well and independent at home – avoiding unneeded hospital admissions and ensuring successful hospital discharges.