In these difficult times it’s more important than ever for us to tap into the community spirit that our borough is famous for and to look after each other.
We need to find a balance between protecting ourselves and others by “self-isolating” and “social distancing” and not losing sight of the fact that by working together and supporting each other we will get through this current crisis.
The council is making it a priority to continue to deliver essential services to our residents and businesses. The pandemic is having an impact and the way we operate must change to meet that challenge.
We are working hard to ensure that we continue to empty your bins, clean your streets, deal with benefit payments, and run our priority services and will do all we can to minimise any impact on your day-to-day lives.
The Government has announced a range of support measures to help people through this crisis and we await further details.
We are also working with partners in the private, public and voluntary sectors to establish a single point of contact that will help support our communities, particularly the vulnerable and elderly and those without a network of friends or family.
There are a lot of community-minded folk out there willing and able to offer what support and assistance they can to others.
This is quickly taking shape and we will give more details over the next few days.
It’s just one way we can all help each other without putting ourselves at risk. Check on your neighbours, especially the elderly, and help them with shopping perhaps or just have a quick chat over the phone. Even a friendly wave through the window will help ease their sense of isolation.
The Government has announced a package of business support measures, including a 12-month business rates “holiday” for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief, and a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for small and medium sized enterprises through the British Business Bank.
Again, we are waiting on further details from the Government but once those are available we will be working with local businesses to help get them delivered.
I’d encourage everyone to try and support our local businesses where possible as the coronavirus takes its toll on their finances. Some are setting up delivery services or other alternative ways of doing business and continuing to use their services will help protect their livelihood and that of the staff they employ.
Look out for friends and family – but try to do the same for those less well known to you.
Councillor Charlie Briggs, leader of Burnley Council