Spelthorne’s ongoing response to the Coronavirus pandemic
12th January 2021
Spelthorne Borough Council has been in emergency response mode since March last year and non-front-line staff continue to work on a virtual footing to support residents and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic. Following the latest government announcement on the 4 January, we have intensified our response and approach to ensure the safety and wellbeing of residents and staff, while taking necessary steps to concentrate resources on maintaining services to support our communities.
This Council will continue to reprioritise its approach, focusing on public safety and redeploying staff and expertise to offer the best and most effective service for residents in the Borough. During the last 10 months we have ensured the maximum possible capacity for our front-line and community services. This has included our Meals on Wheels team so vulnerable residents have access to a hot meal and where necessary staff will be making wellbeing calls to those in need. Our Neighbourhood services team are also working under difficult circumstances; however, all rubbish and recycling collections are continuing as normal.
More recently, during school holidays our Support4Spelthorne teams provided hot meals to children and families in the Borough by offering a direct meal provision through our community centres. Once again, we have redeployed our cooks and assistants to offer children eligible for free school meals a healthy meal during this current lockdown period. Last year local food banks and Voluntary Support North Surrey received a £71,000 donation from Spelthorne Borough Council to support their services and to create a fund which is being distributed to voluntary and community groups in the Borough who have been affected by the pandemic.
Initiatives to support elderly residents and families living in temporary accommodation continued over the Christmas period with hampers and activity packs delivered by teams as we recognised that the festive period would have been a difficult time for many residents. Assistance will continue during this time as well as taking all the necessary steps to reduce and prevent homelessness in the Borough.
The Environmental Health team are doubling efforts to carry out enforcement checks on local businesses to confirm safety measures are in place so residents, where possible, can be safeguarded against the risks of COVID-19 as well as communicating directly with business owners to advise on the latest restriction measures.
The Spelthorne COVID-19 Champions programme continue to host weekly webinars and champions benefit from hearing the latest data, information, and support from the Council and Public Health England. This has proven successful in finding new ways to respond to the pandemic and communicate with networks across the Borough.
The last 10 months has provided extreme challenges for local businesses and this Council has offered financial support to over 1,400 businesses in the Borough with grant payments to the value of £14.23m and will continue to signpost to the latest information and advice available.
The Council have prioritised all meetings, however some non-essential meetings are being suitably postponed during this period to additionally ensure the safeguarding and well-being of staff and Councillors. Details will be on our website. We are also asking the public to contact us via our website, www.spelthorne.gov.uk in the first instance or over the phone.
Regular engagement with regional and local resilience forums during the pandemic has ensured a coordinated and effective response to this unprecedented situation and Spelthorne Borough Council dare continuing to work with partners through this latest stage in our response. This includes helping the NHS deliver the biggest ever vaccination programme in its history as this, along with testing and local contact tracing, is critical in beating the virus.
Our Support4Spelthorne Community Hub continues to be active and residents, if they are in need of support, should call 01784 446446 or email firstname.lastname@example.org where the dedicated team will ask you a few questions to work out what your needs are and how we can help. It is open from Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm.
Cllr John Boughtflower, Leader of Spelthorne Borough Council, said: “Our main priority has to be supporting our residents through these most difficult of times and this Council will continue to take a holistic view on how best to support our residents. I would like to reassure residents that Spelthorne Borough Council is taking the current surge of COVID-19 cases in our Borough extremely seriously and are working daily with our partners and the NHS. We are also reviewing our business continuity plans to ensure we are prepared for all eventualities and can protect the smooth running of our services.
There is hope on the horizon, with the vaccine rollout taking place around the country that will hopefully see this virus in retreat. We do need your support and you can help us by following the rules and staying at home as much as possible. You can also help us all by being kind to one another – a phone call to a neighbour can make a huge difference. Together, we can protect the NHS and save lives.”