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Published: 25 March 2020 , [Missing text '/pagetypes/nescardpage/atFull' for 'English'] 13:30

Strengthened voluntary support for municipalities with those in isolation due to the coronavirus

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has, together with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR), entered into an agreement with organisations within the civil society to support municipalities in helping people over the age of 70, or those belonging to another risk group, with grocery shopping and collection of medications during the corona pandemic. The goal is to offer voluntary support to all 290 municipalities.

The pressure on municipalities has increased as risk groups, including many elderlies, need assistance with grocery shopping and other services when they are confined to their homes.  Therefore, MSB is now taking a comprehensive approach to voluntary support for municipalities with individuals in isolation due to the coronavirus.

As a first step, the measures aim to strengthen the voluntary resource groups (FRG) active in 155 municipalities today. Therefore, MSB has signed an agreement with the Swedish Civil Defence League on coordination responsibilities for FRG during the crisis.

– The municipalities need relief in order to ensure that the elderly receive help to stay at home. Our volunteers wish to make a difference and help in an organised way. These are people who are also well-trained on how to act in a crisis, says the chairman of the Swedish Civil Defence League, Georgios Kontorinis.

As a second step, for municipalities without FRG, MSB and SKR have asked the Swedish Red Cross, the Church of Sweden, the Swedish Sports Confederation, Save the Children, and the National Association for City Missions in Sweden to enter into a Letter of Intent on cooperation. This is a secure solution during a limited period of time that may be implemented quickly where other solutions do not already cover the needs. Some municipalities have, for example, hired people who have been made redundant due to the pandemic.

– All around the country, we have thousands of volunteers within our organisations. We are now also coordinating our voluntary resources to be able to assist even more vulnerable people. This is a way for the civil society to demonstrate that Sweden is powered by good forces and that we can make our way through this challenge, says Martin Ärnlöv, Secretary General of the Swedish Red Cross.

– There is an opportunity here for cooperation for us to survive this crisis. The voluntary organisations and the municipalities will together be able to strengthen the support for citizens in need of support and assistance, says Anders Knape, chairman of the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SKR).

MSB estimates that the initiative will have an effect on the municipalities’ ability to handle severe hardships, both in the short and the long term.

– All these non-profit organisations are an important resource and a powerful part of our crisis preparedness. When a crisis such as this occurs, we must all act in solidarity and take responsibility, says Dan Eliasson, Director General at MSB.

In order for the assistance, in both cases, to be safe for the vulnerable population, volunteers must be suited for the task and insured.

For more information contact:

Swedish Civil Defence League - Tomas Warberg, tomas.warberg@civil.se, +46700038607

Swedish Red Cross – Isak Hellerup, Isak.Hellerup@redcross.se, +46723610253

Church of Sweden – Stefan Håkansson, Stefan.Hakansson@svenskakyrkan.se, +46768000102

Save the Children, Vendela Rundberg, +46733553433, vendela.rundberg@rb.se

Swedish Sports Confederation – Anna Setzman, anna.setzman@rfsisu.se, +46705645216

National Association for City Missions in Sweden - Karin Timm Östlund, karin.timmostlund@sverigesstadsmissioner.se, +46700903937

Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions – SKR’s press office +4684527101

MSB – MSB’s press office, +46102404444, komunikation@msb.se

Published: 25 March 2020 , [Missing text '/pagetypes/nescardpage/atFull' for 'English'] 13:30

Latest reviewed: 2 April 2020

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