The Council is taking action to encourage a reduction in social interaction, in line with the Government’s advice to do so to slow down the spread of COVID-19.
At the same time, officers are preparing their services to help the public – and particularly the most vulnerable in society – at a time when assistance may not be available elsewhere.
The Coronavirus outbreak is the biggest public health emergency in a generation and the priority across the country is to delay the spread of the virus to support.
Delaying the number of people getting infected will save lives, protect vulnerable people and put the NHS in a stronger position to care for loved ones.
With that in mind, a number of Council buildings and services will cease, with alternative arrangements put in place where appropriate.
- All universal and group activities at Family Hubs across the borough will cease from tomorrow. The Hubs will remain open, health visitors and school nurses will be available and planned visits will continue with families wherever possible. Telephone contact will be offered for other families. Any parents and carers who are worried and need advice from their health visitor or Family Hub staff, should ring: Saltburn 01287 626158; Ormesby 01642 776030; Redcar 01642 513665;
- Youth Centres across the borough will no longer be offering evening youth club sessions from tomorrow. For any youth and community service, contact 01642 513653.
- All public-facing activities at TunedIn and Inspire to Learn will cease;
- The Flatts Lane and Guisborough Forest Walkway centres will close from tomorrow, although the parks themselves will remain open;
- Centres where the council’s adult day services are provided will close and appropriate home support will be provided where necessary. The centres will close by this Friday at the latest.
Anyone who uses the services can contact Mark Coates on 07881 518727 or Belinda Etherington on 07920 087589 if they need further information;
- Kirkleatham Museum will close tomorrow;
- All libraries will close from tomorrow. At Redcar and Cleveland House, the reception area will remain open for now, but the library service will be closed. The libraries are used by residents who do not have alternative access to IT facilities for activities such as benefits claims. IT provision will be established at the Grangetown and Skinningrove Employment Hubs. Alternative provision will also be provided at a venue in Redcar;
- The Saltburn Cliff Lift will close from tomorrow;
- All Council-run events will be cancelled until the end of April. The situation will remain under regular review.
The decision to suspend public activities in our buildings and cease the services have not been taken lightly, but they are a proportionate response to the developing efforts to contain COVID-19.
Over the coming days and weeks, the Council will prioritise helping the most vulnerable in society and delivering our statutory services.
All efforts will be made to maintain services, but we are already seeing a reduction in our workforce as staff are either in the vulnerable groups publicised by the Government or are self-isolating.
If the Government’s predictions about how many people will be unable to work as the virus spreads, it means some of our non-statutory services may suffer. The precise effect is difficult to predict at this stage, but the situation will be kept under daily review.
As well as delivering our services, the Council will work with, and support, community groups and volunteers to ensure help is available for those seeking it. The Council is working on a package of emergency measures to support low income families.
The Council will promote useful information to the public and be a central point of contact for people in need and volunteers in the community who can provide assistance.
We are also aware of the profound effect on many older and vulnerable people of being isolated for at least 12 weeks. The Council will set up an internal task force to develop a package of measures to help offset that feeling of isolation. This will also be extended to consider families in the borough who will face challenges when, as expected, schools are closed.
The Council will provide a book delivery service to vulnerable and housebound residents. This will be done with one of the council’s electric vans with books being delivered directly to people’s doorsteps. We will contact these residents individually. We are also in the process of pulling together information on our residents who are over the age of 70 to offer this service and see if we can provide any wider support during this outbreak.
We are also encouraging residents to borrow e- books and e-audio through the “Borrow Box” app, which allows users to borrow books from our library service without the need to visit the library itself. Instructions on how to join are available on borrowbox.com. Residents will need their library card number and a PIN number, which they can get by telephoning 01642 774774.
The Council is also in discussion with our school meals supplier about an ongoing provision for children who receive free school meals.
We will also stand down bailiff enforcement for the next three months.
The Council will administer financial help from the Government for small businesses and is working with the Tees Valley Combined Authority to best administer this.
The Council’s website is a key outlet for information. As you may be aware, the website was one of our systems most affected by the cyber-attack. However, we are close to having an updated version of the website. While the new version may not have all the functionality of the original website, it will give us a much-improved platform to communicate with residents.