STROUD District Council has made the following pledge to residents and businesses – “we will do whatever it takes to help you”.
A council spokeswoman said: “The challenges we face as a community from the coronavirus outbreak are unprecedented but we are well prepared to tackle them.
“Our response is our top priority for the foreseeable future. We, the four Leaders of the Council’s political groups, are committed to our collaborative leadership of Stroud District, ensuring that we care for and look after our most vulnerable residents, our key workers and everyone ready to help us. We are working closely with our partners. We will do this for as long as it takes.
“We are working to maintain essential services to residents and businesses, while adjusting our working practices in line with Government and public health guidance. During this time some of our services will need to be reduced or postponed. We are working with our partner Ubico to ensure that waste and recycling collections continue as normal so please continue to put out your bins as usual by 6am on collection day. There is more waste guidance for people with confirmed or possible coronavirus infection on our webpage.
“We have suspended all meetings for the time being and await new legislation from the Government to remove the need for face-to-face meetings to agree decisions at Council and Committees. We also await further guidance following the postponement to May 2021 of the election of district, town and parish councillors and the Police & Crime Commissioner, scheduled for 7 May. For the time being those in post will continue in their roles.
“We will: support our residents:
“You will find the answer to most of your questions on our website. This includes the latest information from the NHS and Public Health England on our coronavirus page together with a new Frequently Asked Questions section www.stroud.gov.uk/health-wellbeing/coronavirus
“If you need to contact us, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you can’t, please call our Customer Services number, 01453 766321 during our weekday office hours of 8.45am – 5pm (4.30pm on Fridays). Please don’t come to Ebley Mill unless it is essential. If your enquiry is about benefits or council tax, please use a reference number if you have one. We have an out of hours emergency response service too.
“We know that many residents who have been affected by coronavirus are concerned about how they will be able to afford to pay their bills. We will do all we can to help you through this difficult time. If you are experiencing financial hardship due to coronavirus, you may be able to make a claim for Universal Credit and council tax support. Please check our website for guidance then follow the online forms to make a claim. You will need to make a separate claim for council tax support. Our benefits team is working hard to process all claims as quickly as possible.
“The Government has announced a new £500m hardship fund so local authorities can to support economically vulnerable people and businesses. We expect details to follow shortly, but it is expected that most of this will be used to provide more support through existing support schemes.
“Support our businesses:
“We are working with the GFirst Local Enterprise Partnership which is developing business support, advice and information – it can be contacted at email@example.com or Tweet @GFirstLEP
“For all queries about business rates relief and hardship funding announced in the Budget, please check the dedicated section https://www.stroud.gov.uk/health-wellbeing/coronavirus/businesses-and-employers on our website in the first instance and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you can’t find the answer you need.
“Information is being updated regularly here, so do check back and remember to follow us on Twitter @Strouddc too.
“Co-ordinate our community response:
“Already a lot of great work is being done by many community-spirited individuals and groups but some people don’t benefit from being well-connected locally. So today a countywide Community Help Hub is being launched. It will be hosted on the County Council’s website. It has four areas:
• I can offer help’ – for those who are able to support neighbours with tasks such as picking up prescriptions, shopping, dog walking and more
• ‘I need help’ – can be used by individuals to ask for support
• ‘My neighbour needs help’ – may be used by people to request help on behalf of a neighbour, relative or friend who cannot access the internet themselves
• ‘My business can help’ – will allow local businesses who may have skills and resources others could benefit from, to offer their help
“All the information collected for Stroud District will be channelled back to us to carry out a matching exercise. We will put individual volunteers in touch with groups they can work with, and link vulnerable people with those best placed to help them.
“The Community Help Hub is here www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/helphub
“We will use all communication channels to provide regular updates as the situation is fast-changing.
“We will do everything in our power to delay and later recover from the impact of coronavirus on our communities, and are determined to help you through this.
“Signed: Cllr Doina Cornell, Leader of the Council (Labour); Cllr Martin Whiteside, Alliance Group Leader (Green Party); Cllr Ken Tucker, Alliance Group Leader (Liberal Democrats), and Cllr Stephen Davies (Conservative).