The Leader of Nottingham City Council has highlighted the vital role played by local people, communities and the authority’s staff and services in supporting the city through the coronavirus crisis as the country reaches 100 days since the lockdown began.
It’s now more than 14 weeks since the Government introduced unprecedented rules designed to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In that time, the council has worked hard to keep existing services running, in spite of having less staff available; set up new support schemes to help vulnerable people during lockdown, and reopened other services which had to temporarily stop.
Services which the authority has prioritised and kept going throughout the past 100 days include:
- Homecare support for the elderly and disabled
- Social care support for the most vulnerable
- Support to claim benefits for those in need
- Funerals for loved ones who have passed away
- Community Protection
- Public transport to keep people moving safely
- Household waste and recycling collections
- Parks and green spaces
- Planning applications to keep building projects on track
- Online libraries and activities to keep people entertained
- Public Health information and advice about COVID
New services provided during the pandemic include:
- More than 2,000 free emergency food parcels delivered
- Responded to more than 2,000 calls for help with shopping, prescriptions and family emergencies
- Telephoned 12,000 people who were shielding to check they were OK
- Over 1.9 million items of PPE distributed, spending £1.8m in total on PPE so we now have 2.8 million items in stock.
- Checked in on more than 2,000 people at home who couldn’t be reached on the phone
- Recruited more than 200 new carers to support our care homes and homecare
- Created vouchers and gift cards to help get food to children who would normally have free school meals
- Provided safe places for rough sleepers to isolate with three meals a day
- Allocated more than £3m in emergency hardship grants to households
- Distributed more than £40m of business grants to local businesses
- Put resources online to support families home schooling
Services back up and running now include the council’s Household Waste and Recycling Centre, bulky-waste and garden waste collections, garden maintenance for Nottingham City Homes properties, Woodthorpe Grange plant shop, Bulwell Hall golf course, Tennis Centre courts and outdoor markets.
It is hoped that next to follow will be playgrounds and outdoor gyms, Queen’s Drive park-and-ride, the reopening of some libraries and more support for walking and cycling.
Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “The past three months have been extremely tough for everyone – families, key workers, businesses, the elderly and vulnerable, and our school-age children.
“The way that people have come together to support each other through these unprecedented times has been humbling. The selfless response of Nottingham’s neighbourhoods and communities has underlined what we already knew about those who live and work in our city. I say thank you to them for that.
“The Robin Hood Fund, set up at the start of the pandemic, has been distributing money kindly donated by local people to organisations working with vulnerable people, including more than £40,000 to support food banks and social eating projects.
“As a council, we’ve moved staff to protect vital, existing frontline services, while launching a number of programmes in direct response to the pandemic, designed to support our most vulnerable residents.
“We all owe a huge debt of thanks to council staff – many in unfamiliar roles – who have worked so hard to make sure these services have been carried out. Sadly, we have a lost two members of staff to the coronavirus and we remember them as well as the many other people lost to families during the pandemic.
“We have spent around £86m so far on the pandemic response in Nottingham, with only £19m back from Government. The Prime Minister said they would stand shoulder-to-shoulder with local councils, and we need them to recognise this incredible local effort and make good on that promise.”
“Working with the UK’s Core Cities, Nottingham has submitted bids for funding from the Government to the tune of over £800m for a range of projects to support local people and businesses, investing in the wider regional economy to protect and create jobs.
“We will continue to fight hard to ensure Nottingham gets its fair share of any additional funding the Government makes available.”