COVID-19 is dominating the news agenda and has been a vital channel for councils to communicate with a wide range of stakeholders. Here are just a few examples of how local authorities have been effectively harnessing the power of the media to get their messages across.
- Gedling Borough Council
The leader, deputy leader and chief executive of the council wrote to supermarkets, offering for the council to purchase a stock of essential items that will then be distributed to vulnerable and elderly residents. A “Giving for Gedling” network of community volunteers is to be set up to help coordinate and facilitate the numerous and welcomed offers of help from local residents – this will support the most vulnerable in the community.
Contact: Nathan Greenwood
- Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council
The Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is meeting with care home and domiciliary care providers to understand and build on their existing business continuity arrangements for the delivery of care and support across the Borough.
Contact: David Crosby
Health and community
- London Borough of Bexley
The London Borough of Bexley Council and Bexley Voluntary Service Council are working together to support residents who are able to give their time to support vulnerable people. Local residents can register to help local charities, community groups and local people who need help through a volunteering scheme.
Contact: John Ferry
- Woking Borough Council
The Woking Borough Council has announced a wide range of measures that will help protect businesses, vulnerable residents (including housing and rental support) and employees (including working from home arrangements).
Contact: Andy Denner
- Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead
Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead is calling on residents, if they can, to help others in their community – to check on any vulnerable family, friends and neighbours to see if they need anything from the shops or prescriptions collected or help with other small jobs. They say residents can join their local neighbourhood watch scheme.
Contact: Maddie Pinkham
- Enfield Council
A scheme has been launched to coordinate the borough’s approach against coronavirus. Enfield Stands Together, which is being co-ordinated by the council and Enfield Voluntary action has brought together key local partners – NHS, Enfield Carers Centre, Age UK, Citizens Advice and many more. Residents can volunteer and register for extra help here.
Contact: Andrew Golder
- Barbergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils
The councils have introduced measures to prevent the future eviction of any council tenant who cannot pay their housing rent as a direct result of coronavirus. The councils have asked any tenants who feel they may need support to get in contact with them.
- Hull City Council
Hull City Council has set up business rates relief support team. Officers from the council visited Trinity Market to provide clarity to the traders about what support is available to them. The council is committed to keeping independent traders within the city centre. The council announced a ten-point plan to help support residents and businesses.
Contact: Jamie Goodwin
- Dudley Council
Dudley Council bosses announced that, until further notice, no further legal summonses will be issued to help residents and businesses deal with the fall-out from coronavirus. The measures will apply to council tax, business rates, council housing rent and all other debts to the local authority.
- Richmondshire District Council
Richmondshire District Council will implement the Government’s offer of additional assistance for business ratepayers. The council has already issued annual bills for 2020/21 – revised bills will go out as soon as further guidance form Government is available.
Contact officer: Aly Thompson
- City of Wolverhampton Council
In City of Wolverhampton Council local employment and training providers have outlined support measures for local residents facing uncertainty around jobs over the coming weeks. The council is working closely with the DWP and Job Centres in the city. The council’s Wolves at Work and Black Country Impact Youth Employment Initiative team has moved its support for customers to a digital and telephone platform.
Contact: Oliver Bhurrut
- Hart District Council
To support local residents and businesses, Hart District Council has suspended charges in all its public car parks until the end of June. The council will maintain parking enforcement services to ensure people continue to park properly but it will not issue any new or replacement residents’ parking permits during this period.
Contact: Rona Cheeseman
- Slough Borough Council
In Slough Borough Council the hours concessionary bus passes can be used has been increased to help holders during the corona virus public health emergency. The passes can now be used before 9.30am so holders can access supermarkets and services opening in the early morning. The council also announced that concessionary bus pass holders will be able to use public transport for free 24 hours a day.
Contact: Sarah Lawrence
- Hampshire County Council
Hampshire County Council is encouraging its residents to read and access its wide range of digital content through their phones, tablets and computers. The council has released more content on Borrowbox – the free app which has hundreds of audiobooks and e-books for children and adults.
Contact: Catherine Morrow
- Southend on Sea Borough Council
Southend on Sea Borough Council's culture and leisure venues, along with libraries have been closed in an effort to reduce the spread of Coronavirus. Library books can be renewed online, but any library fines incurred as a result of these closures will be waived. The council is prioritising vulnerable residents and those in care.
Contact: Anthony Smyth
- Gloucestershire County Council
Gloucestershire County Council closed its libraries from Monday 23 March and any fines for overdue materials and overdue notifications are suspended. Expiry dates for library cards will be extended so that users can continue to access online materials. The council is also looking into how it can best support vulnerable users and those self-isolating.
- Gedling Borough Council
Despite the closure of leisure facilities, all Gedling Borough Council managed parks and open spaces, including Gedling Country Park, will remain open for use, with residents encouraged to enjoy our beautiful open spaces, whilst observing social distancing measures advised by Public Health England and the Government.
Contact: Nathan Greenwood
- North Yorkshire County Council
North Yorkshire County Council: Trading Standards officers are encouraging family and friends to help protect residents from potential scams during the coronavirus outbreak. It is offering free call blockers to residents who are victims of phone frauds. Residents or their representatives can request a free device here.
Mortuary - Crematorium
- North Devon Council
North Devon Council: North Devon Crematorium is introducing some initial measures to minimise the risk of infection including stopping coffin bearing which will be replaced with a hydraulic trolley; removing hymn books and playing hymns from a television screen; and removing some seating to allow chairs to be spread further apart.
Contact: Claire Holm