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.
Help for people getting around by walking or cycling
The Government recently announced a £250million emergency active travel fund for temporary measures that encourage walking and cycling and ease overcrowding on public transport systems as people return to work. The Tees Valley’s indicative allocation is £431,000 from which our allocation for Stockton-on-Tees is around £86,000.
We have submitted a range of proposals to Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) covering things like widening existing pinch points to maintain social distancing and creating additional temporary cycle lanes. TVCA will now submit these proposals to Government for consideration and all proposals that are agreed must then be delivered in four to eight weeks.
Help for businesses
There has been an extension to the local business grants fund scheme aimed at small businesses that were not eligible for the original scheme. We are now seeking applications from business owners who think they may be eligible and applications must be in by June 15. 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 have now received Government guidance on the additional funding of £2.5million for infection control in care homes in the borough and are now processing the payments to them. 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.
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. This week saw 25 primary schools welcome back around 1,000 additional pupils, and more schools are planning to welcome additional pupils next week. 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. The team operates Monday to Saturday and phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays and from 10am to 12.30pm on Saturdays. You can call 01642 524500 for assistance or email [email protected] and find out all about it on the Catalyst website.
‘Dear Diary’ local history project
We are still welcoming contributions to our ‘Dear Diary’ project, which exists to capture your experiences during the Coronavirus pandemic. 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.