Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council Leader, Councillor Bob Cook.
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 www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus
I am also keen to remind people of the help and support that the Council is providing during this incredibly challenging time.
Our four Family Hubs – Billingham, Redhill, Stockton and Thornaby – will close to the public from Monday (April 20). There will be limited access for staff by appointment. Family Hub staff will still be available by telephone on:
- Billingham Family Hub 01642 524731
- Redhill Family Hub 01642 527224
- Stockton Family Hub 01642 528977
- Thornaby Family Hub 01642 528947
Help for families with children who usually receive free school meals
I’d like to thank everybody involved in the work we’ve done to provide free school meals from our four Family Hubs. It has enabled us to help so many families at a time of great need and we have kept this in place until today, the end of the Easter holidays. This scheme has provided an amazing 1,300 meals every day to local families through the Family Hubs and voluntary groups. We are now standing it down as the national free school meals voucher system is up and running. The national voucher scheme is open to those eligible for benefits-related free school meals and you can contact your school with any queries. You can also check your eligibility, and make an application, on our website at www.stockton.gov.uk/freeschoolmeals
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 www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/schoolsandchildcare
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. 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. We are working intensively with Public Health England to identify and develop additional support arrangements to shield and protect our care homes. We are also ensuring that all their needs are being raised through the Local Resilience Forum so they are escalated to Government as a matter of urgency.
Help for the vulnerable and elderly
The ‘COVID Community Support Team’, a partnership between the Council, Catalyst and the Borough’s brilliant VCSE organisations, has been going for four weeks now and in that time it has provided help to almost 2,000 vulnerable and elderly residents. It’s been a truly remarkable effort by all involved and it will continue for as long as needed.
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 and find out all about it on the Catalyst website.
Help for businesses
We have now processed £22million of business grant payments to 1,912 eligible businesses in the Borough – that’s 77 per cent of the total. There are some businesses that we still need additional information from in order to process their grant payments and we are busy contacting them.
If you have not yet been in touch, you can find eligibility details and an online form on our dedicated webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/businesssupport 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 and have helped 1,400 people with alternative payment arrangements and Council Tax Support. 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 [email protected] 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: www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/counciltax
It is important that people remain calm, follow the latest national advice on the steps needed to reduce the spread of infection, and use only official sources of information when getting this advice.
For updates on all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related developments in Stockton-on-Tees – including health advice and disruptions to services – visit the Council’s dedicated webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus