COVID-19: Council leaders unite to help protect everyone in Stroud District
Published: Tuesday, 31 March, 2020
Stroud District Council’s elected leaders are united in their thanks to everyone who is pulling together in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic – and have underlined their commitment to ensure that no-one is left behind.
They appreciate how life for residents and businesses has changed hugely in just a few weeks. The Council is responding by putting in to place emergency plans to prioritise services which matter most.
That means upping its customer contact and community response services and targeting help to support the most vulnerable, and changing the way many services including Council Tax payment, parking charges, business rates, waste and recycling collections, environmental health and licensing are administered.
“This is an unprecedented situation and firstly I want to thank everyone in our district who is doing their bit – workers in the NHS, public sector, emergency services, and those working to ensure essential food and supplies reach us,” said Council Leader Doina Cornell (Labour).
“As a Council we support those of our staff in isolation or who fall ill, and all bar a handful of our fit and well staff are already working from home. At the same time our staff are focusing on the most important services that our residents, businesses and community groups need.”
While recognising that many community groups are mobilising help and assistance across neighbourhoods in the district, SDC has set up an online interactive map to show where help can be offered by resilient, trusted groups across the whole district so no-one is missed. SDC Neighbourhood Wardens are communicating with Town and Parish Councils, to ensure everyone gets the service they need.
“Community response is key to getting the district through this incredibly tough time,” said Green Group Leader, Councillor Martin Whiteside. “This district is a really special place with many people who care about their neighbours. We want to make sure that the effect of all that good work is maximised.”
Another key area where the council is experiencing extra demand is customer contact, so we have moved officers across to that service to help give residents the answers they need.
“There is a lot of information on a dedicated Frequently Asked Questions section of the council website, and a live blog running of all the major updates every day,” said Councillor Ken Tucker, Liberal Democrat Group Leader. “That information is being updated and shared all the time too but if you need more information, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01453 766321.”
Last week the council temporarily suspended charging for off-street parking to help key workers and essential businesses. We are working on how council tax relief can be managed through a £500million Government hardship fund, offering 100% business rate relief to many who usually pay, and will soon be issuing grants from Government of £10,000 and £25,000 to qualifying businesses.
There is also advice on the council website for taxi and private hire operators, and for pubs, cafes and restaurants which have had to close to the public but want to run temporarily as takeaways. Currently waste and recycling collections are operating as normal but residents are asked not to not put additional pressure on the service by presenting higher volumes of waste than normal.
“This is an ever-changing situation which the council has planned for and is responding to,” said Conservative Group Leader Stephen Davies. “It is important that we all stand together at a very difficult time like this and unite to work for the benefit of everyone in the district.”
For more Stroud District Council updates on how we are supporting residents, businesses and the community through the Coronavirus pandemic, please visit www.stroud.gov.uk/coronavirus our Facebook page www.facebook.com/strouddistrictcouncil or Twitter account @StroudDC