RingCentral Enables Woodbridge Emergency Response Team to Treat Elderly Patients in Need of Critical Supplies
- Woodbridge Emergency Response Group is part of The Town Council, which was the successor to the Urban District Council and is based in the Shire Hall, Market Hill.
- It is the 3rd tier of Local Government after Suffolk County Council and East Suffolk Council and deals only with the Town of Woodbridge.
- The Town itself is split into 4 Wards; FARLINGAYE, KYSON, SECKFORD and RIVERSIDE and each ward has four Councillors.
- The Town Mayor is Chairman of the Council; he/she is also the Civic Head of Woodbridge, representing the Town at many civic and other functions.
Shire Hall, Market Hill
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact everyone around the globe. Against the sombre news of rising mortality figures and economic challenges, there are stories of hope and humanity to remind us what we’re struggling for.
After the mandated lockdown, the small town of Woodbridge, Suffolk (UK), created an emergency response group composed of locally elected officials and volunteers who turned a difficult situation into a success story. Marrying RingCentral’s technology with a desire to help the local population, the Woodbridge Emergency Response Group delivers hope to the local community.
Woodbridge comprises nearly 17,000 residents, with a large population belonging to the elderly demographic, who suddenly found they were unable to fill prescriptions or travel to purchase essential supplies. Realising the threat this would pose to the town, Mayor Patrick Gillard and Councillor Eamonn O’Nolan began their search for volunteers to aid those in need.
They began with a simple website and social media pages to spread the word for help and soon formed a team of 300+ volunteers known as the Woodbridge Emergency Group. Today, these heroes serve local residents through three main areas: prescription medicine delivery, food distribution, and emotional support.
Woodbridge Deploys New Technology for Integrated Database Management and Helpline
In addition to assembling volunteers, the Woodbridge team began to build a database of community members who were most in need of aid. With local pharmacies serving Woodbridge and the surrounding area, there were up to 3,500 residents requiring assistance.
As the database grew, the response team recognised the data would be cumbersome to track in a spreadsheet and deployed Salesforce to manage the residents’ contact information. They also realised the elderly population would be unable to use email or digital methods to communicate their needs and would prefer telephone calls to make their requests. Unfortunately, the local town hall only had access to a four-line telephone connection, which was unable to fully support and connect the group’s volunteers to all those requiring support.
Hearing about RingCentral’s free trial during the COVID-19 crisis, Councillor O’Nolan took advantage of the special pricing for a free 100-user RingCentral Office licence and implemented RingCentral to manage their telephone communications. The team deployed the cloud-based telecommunications solution to help schedule pickups and deliveries to serve their members, operating three people on three-hour shifts.
Each volunteer logs into Salesforce on their devices, then opens up the RingCentral app to start accepting calls that are rerouted from the town hall. No matter their location, the emergency team can take “customer” details and add them into the CRM, allowing multiple volunteers to field calls simultaneously.
"The hotline is monitored every day and an answerphone overnight. This is made brilliantly effective now that we have RingCentral’s software."
Woodbridge County Councilor Communications Representative
RingCentral Solution Allows Woodbridge to Serve Residents Amid Social Distancing
While the feedback so far has been positive and receptive, the Emergency Response Group hopes to serve even more Woodbridge residents. Currently, they are able to serve about 15% of the 3,500 residents who require assistance through the help of 40 delivery drivers.
They receive calls for prescription refills, food deliveries, and even social services like dog walking. In addition to the town volunteers, there is also an outreach group comprising counsellors and psychiatrists who provide emotional assistance. Even more, they are adding tradespeople to the volunteer list to help with essential infrastructural issues such as electrical or plumbing issues that arise.
RingCentral Office paved the way for the volunteers to successfully field the overwhelming requests and has now become an initiative the whole town can contribute to. Local residents are spreading the word, adding additional channels to donate or request help. Residents can keep up with efforts via the website, Twitter or Facebook, as well as make requests through a new hotline.
To request assistance or get involved, please contact Woodbridge Emergency Group via email or by phoning 01394 383599.