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May 1: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

01 May 2020

Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council Leader, Councillor Bob Cook.

Image of Stockton on Tees Borough council logo

We continue to work within a well-established set of structures governing how agencies work together to respond to keep people safe and well-informed during a major incident. As we are in a relatively stable way of working, we now provide weekly updates on the last working day of the week.

Of course, should there be any urgent or significant news to communicate in the interim then this will be done via the Council's news pages and social media channels. You can also keep informed on all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related developments in Stockton-on-Tees - including new Council support services and disruptions to some regular Council services - by visiting our dedicated webpage Our People.

I am also keen to remind people of the help and support that the Council is providing during this incredibly challenging time.

'Dear Diary' local history project

We've launched a 'Dear Diary' project to document your experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic. Whether it's a digital birthday singalong, a visit to grandparents through their window, clapping for key workers, or paying tribute to the loss of a loved one, the project is about capturing all kinds of experiences for future generations to look back on.

Reopening of the Household Waste and Recycling Centre

In last week's update I mentioned that we were in discussions with SUEZ about restoring access to the Haverton Hill Household Waste and Recycling Centre (HWRC). I'm pleased that we've since been able to support SUEZ to achieve just that. The site reopens this Sunday but you must book an appointment to use it. This is one of a number of restrictions in place to ensure everyone's safety.

School admissions appeals

We have developed a school admissions appeals process in line with Department for Education guidance on how this should be approached at the current time. Face to face appeal hearings will not take place this year. Appeal hearings for schools and academies in the Borough will instead be considered on written representations. You can find full details and dates of primary and secondary appeal panel hearings on our website at Schools and Education.

Help for businesses

We have now processed £27.6million of business grant payments - that's 94 per cent of the total - and continue to contact businesses to encourage them to provide the information we need to process their payments. If you have not yet been in touch, you can find eligibility details and an online form on our dedicated webpage Help for businesses or call our Business and Enterprise team on 01642 528384.

Help for people struggling to pay Council Tax

We appreciate that people may be struggling to pay their Council Tax. If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax due to the pandemic, please get in touch. We will explore all possible options with you. Please email tax.support@stockton.gov.uk and include in your email your name and address, telephone number, your preferred email address, your Council Tax account number, and a brief outline of your circumstances. If you are unable to email please call 01642 397108 instead. You can also find out more on our dedicated webpage: Council tax.

Help for the vulnerable and elderly

The 'COVID Community Support Team', a partnership between the Council, Catalyst and the Borough's brilliant VCSE organisations, continues to support vulnerable and elderly residents. Help ranges from food deliveries, shopping and picking up prescriptions to making sure people who are self-isolating and may be worried or lonely get the right support they need. The team operates seven days a week and phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, and from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. You can call 01642 524500 for assistance or email covidcommunitysupport@catalyststockton.org.

Help for parents/carers of children still attending school

The vast majority of schools in the Borough remain open for children of key workers and vulnerable children. If a school does need to close and you need help arranging alternative provision then the Council's School Support Service can help. For more details visit Our People.

Help for care providers

We continue to work very closely with the Borough's care homes, domiciliary care providers and many individual personal assistants and informal carers, who look after some of our most vulnerable residents. They are doing an absolutely phenomenal job. We are in daily contact with many of the homes and care providers and are supporting them as they continue to operate in extremely challenging circumstances.