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.
Town centres getting ready to reopen
We’re supporting our town centres across the Borough as they get ready to welcome back shoppers and visitors on Monday (June 15). There’ll be free parking across all council car parks and on Yarm High Street and Council staff will be out and about to help people understand the changes. We have also set up a dedicated helpline – 01642 528 384 – that town centre businesses can use to get any support or advice they need.
Public toilets to reopen
All of our public toilets – on Norton, Stockton and Yarm High Streets as well as at Ropner Park and Wynyard Woodland Park – will reopen from Monday. The public toilets at Preston Park are already open.
Following a further successful combined virtual and physical meeting of the Statutory Licensing Sub-Committee earlier this week we will be holding a wholly virtual Cabinet meeting next Thursday (June 18). If this is successful, all Council meetings will resume on a virtual basis until further notice.
Help for businesses – Monday deadline for grant applications
Business owners who think they may be eligible for the extended local business grants fund scheme have until 5pm on Monday (June 15) to apply. You can find the eligibility criteria and an application form on our website at www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/businesssupport.
Help for care providers
We continue to work very closely with all of 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. This week we were able to pay out an additional £900,000 of Government funding to all care homes in the Borough to assist with infection control measures.
Help for parents/carers of children attending school
The vast majority of schools in the Borough have remained open for children of key workers and vulnerable children since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. Primary schools have gradually been welcoming back more pupils and all of them are due to be open for some year groups next week. Secondary schools are planning to welcome back some year 10 pupils for more face to face contact to go alongside their online offers from next week, while sixth forms and colleges will welcome back some year 12 pupils for more face to face contact too.
You can find details on school opening arrangements on our webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/schoolsandchildcare.
Help for people struggling to pay Council Tax
We appreciate that people may be struggling to pay their household bills and Council Tax. You can find out about the help and support available on our dedicated webpage www.stockton.gov.uk/coronavirus/counciltax.
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. There has been a steady and sustained fall in demand for the service in recent weeks and so as of Monday (June 15), the team will reduce its operating hours with phone lines operational Monday to Friday, 9am to 2pm. You can email [email protected] for assistance or call 01642 524500 and find out all about it on the Catalyst website.
‘Dear Diary’ local history project
We’ve had some wonderful contributions to our ‘Dear Diary’ project lately, including a ragdoll sent by grandparents to their granddaughter, and a stunning wall hanging created by a textile artist and depicting the walks she has been on during the pandemic. The ‘Dear Diary’ project is about capturing your experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic and you can submit your own pictures, videos and stories to the Heritage Stockton website by visiting www.stockton.gov.uk/deardiary and clicking the ‘Contribute’ button at the top of the page.
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.