Burnley Council has set out its response so far to the Covid-19 pandemic as it makes plans for the future.
The council has worked hard, both independently and with partners locally and across Lancashire, since the start of the outbreak to ensure essential services continue to be provided to residents.
It has also worked to manage and distribute Government support, particularly for local businesses, and communicate life-saving advice and information to local people.
A report has been compiled by senior managers and the council’s executive outlining the work that has been done and plans in place for what lies ahead.
Council leader Charlie Briggs said: “I’d like to thank all the members of the public, all the organisations and businesses and members of council staff for all their hard work over the past weeks.
“To say it’s been difficult is an understatement but the council, along with many of our fantastic partners, have all pulled together to both adapt our services, and develop new ones to meet the challenges head on.
“Burnley Council has done its upmost to ensure that our residents are protected and that our services continue to be delivered wherever possible whilst following Government guidelines. A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to make sure this happens and continues to happen.”
Among the work that’s been done includes:
- Business support grants – processed and distributed 1800 grants - around £20 million of Government funding to local companies to date, protecting businesses and jobs
- Extra space has been found to provide a temporary home for anyone sleeping rough during the crisis
- Worked with faith and community leaders to ensure social distancing guidance is followed during religious festivals
- Produced social distancing measures for small local shops such as screens and signage to ensure their customers and staff are kept save, as well as providing advice and help
- Ensured council services are available to residents and remain operating as fully and efficiently as possible, whilst following Government guidance
- Maintained our award-winning parks and green spaces and, in the case of Towneley Hall, made information and other materials available online where possible
- Bereavement staff worked tirelessly to ensure burial and cremation services continued and families were supported through this difficult period
- Worked with partners such as Urbaser to ensure waste collection and street cleansing services continued as normal, and with Liberata so residents could continue to access support and grant payments
- Working with Calico, BPRCVS and Burnley Football in the Community and other partners to establish Burnley Together, the community hub which has handled almost 7,000 contacts from people and distributed almost 3,500 food parcels, as well as providing advice and support; other staff worked at a community foodbank
- Worked with strategic partners across the county through the Lancashire Resilience Forum to promote and organise a co-ordinated approach to tackling the crisis
Councillor Margaret Lishman, the council’s executive member for resources and performance management, said: “We are now moving from our response to the emergency to restoring services and finding new ways to deliver them. Things have changed dramatically over the last few months. The council, the employees and partners have proved well able to change and adapt and we have all learnt valuable lessons we can apply in the future.
“I’m sure we will not return to everything as it was before the pandemic. For many it will never be the same having lost loved ones or their employment.
“We’ve gained so much working closely with partners in the borough and we need to make sure that is retained. Burnley will need to adapt and change, hopefully with help and funding from central government. Burnley and its residents will respond to the challenges and come back stronger.”
Councillor Briggs added: “We need to work with businesses, partners and the voluntary sector to support the transition from the immediate crisis through to full recovery.
As part of this we are already:
- Consulting with businesses to understand the true impact of the pandemic and the support they need
- Advising business on how they can make their work environments Covid safe
- Working with town centre businesses to enable them to reopen on 15th June
- Working with Public Health England and Lancashire County Council on the Test and Trace programme including developing plans for dealing with localised outbreaks
- Ensuring the town hall and Contact Burnley is safe for staff and residents who need to visit them.
- Considering alternatives to public transport and reconnecting people to place through the comprehensive network of Greenways which run through and around our town.
“Looking beyond that to future recovery, the council is working with the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and the East Lancashire Chamber of Trade to develop and lobby for support for major employment sectors in the town.
“I have met with our local MP to start the process of lobbying for Government support for Burnley and will continue to do so over the coming weeks and months.
“The council will be working with businesses, partners and the voluntary sector that will build on the work undertaken so far and incorporate it into a wider recovery plan for Burnley”.