A minute’s silence will be held at the City Council’s first full council meeting during lockdown today (Monday 18th May) – live streamed to the public – to remember the 163 Covid victims in Nottingham, including two council staff members.

WATCH the meeting live from 2pm at: https://www.youtube.com/user/NottCityCouncil

The moment of reflection comes at the end of a speech by the council leader, Cllr David Mellen, outlining the impact of the pandemic on Nottingham, as well as the city’s collective response to it.

Cllr Mellen, who will offer his deepest condolences to those who have lost loved ones to Covid-19, commends council staff for working tirelessly and responding quickly and effectively to change the way services are delivered to the people in our city. He points to a number of initiatives the council has put in place to help people through the last two months of the crisis, including:

• Supporting those working with our frail elderly and those with disabilities in care homes and in their own homes
• Working hard with local suppliers to supplement the Government’s supplies of personal protective equipment which have not been reliable
• Redeploying staff from across the council to work in care roles, where we have had over 200 applications to fill vacancies
• Working with several major supermarket chains to operate a voucher or gift card scheme so that children and young people can still access meals
• Creating a free online resource to help people stay happy and healthy with a library of resources to keep children active
• Working with partners in the city to ensure that everyone sleeping rough in Nottingham was provided a safe place to isolate, with three meals a day
• Supporting people through business rate relief to claiming benefits easily and quickly
• Paying out over £40million to local businesses, with over 90% of those who have submitted their application having now had their grant
• Allocating emergency hardship grants to households that come under the Council Tax Support Scheme, totalling just over £3m
• Delivering vital food packages to people at high risk from Covid-19 – with over 11,000 people on the Government’s Shielding programme in Nottingham reached or being reached to establish their level of need
• Processing around 2,000 free emergency food parcel requests
• Keeping our citizens informed and advised on a daily basis during this worrying time.

As well as the new services set up in response to the pandemic, often requiring people to move from their day jobs into new roles, Cllr Mellen will thank those members of staff continuing to play a vital role on the frontline.

He says: “I want to pay a special heartfelt thanks to all of our frontline council staff, working hard across the city to keep people well, safe from harm, and to keep vital services going. Our Care Workers, Social Workers, Public Realm Officers, Customer Hub staff, Neighbourhood Development Officers. Their contribution in these unprecedented times cannot and will not go unnoticed.”

He goes on to commend the community response, with a large number of community groups and volunteers coming forward to offer their time and resources to support those in need.

“I have been heartened by the amazing community response we’ve seen in Nottingham, from neighbours looking out for one another, to the Robin Hood Fund raising money for those in need,” he said. “As a city, we stand together and I’m confident we will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months.”

He adds: “As much as we appreciate and celebrate the efforts made by Nottingham people to raise money and donate time to look after our vulnerable people, we know that the Government can and should do more to help local authorities deal with this crisis.

“I will continue to meet with regional and national leaders and lobby ministers in Government for a fair and proportionate amount of funding to meet these challenges. I hope there will also be more recognition of the vital role public services play in the lives of the people we serve and the dedication and commitment of those who carry out this essential work.”