Coronavirus Lockdown 2.0
Coronavirus Lockdown 2.0 by Cllr Sharon Taylor, Leader of Stevenage Borough Council OBE
I know you will be reading this as we enter the first days of our second national lockdown. We understand that individuals, families, organisations and businesses will all have their concerns and you may be wondering what this means for our Stevenage community. We do not yet have all the guidance from government to be able to answer every question that is arising, but we learned a lot from our lockdown earlier in the year and want to reassure you that we have quickly set up our incident management systems and our Emergency Committee so that we can continue to support our community through this second phase.
Our motto ‘The heart of a town lies in its people’ is an understatement. The 2020 spring/summer lockdown showed exactly how resilient we are in Stevenage. Many people supported friends, neighbours and family who needed help, from shopping for food to collecting medicine and prescriptions. Our recent virtual Pride of Stevenage Awards 2020 – Covid Special showcased some of the incredible people who selflessly helped others of which the SBC team and I are very proud. We have already received many offers of support from local community organisations and we will all be working together to ensure Stevenage is as safe as it is possible to make it.
We will always want to support the vulnerable, elderly, lonely and those experiencing difficulties with their health and wellbeing, and they were a priority for us as we went into the first lockdown period. We are in the autumnal season which presents a few challenges. We no longer have summer evenings and warm weather on our side. This means we need to consider how we interact with each other carefully and how we keep the ‘at risk’ groups already mentioned connected with the right information and support services. Our Stevenage Helps service delivered 539 food parcels to vulnerable members of the community and took 739 calls from local people. We reached out to over 730 vulnerable and elderly Careline Alarm customers, continued support to more than 90 Stevenage residents over 70, offering advice, support and a friendly ear to those who may have been feeling particularly isolated. This work will continue to ensure we look after this group in particular.
We know that our businesses have had a tough time this year, during the first lockdown we got over 800 grants out quickly to support those who are at the heart of our local economy. As soon as we are able to do so, we will be providing details of the latest round of grant funding to local businesses who are affected.
The four weeks starting today may not seem too long for a second lockdown in comparison to what we have already experienced this year. However, we need to work together to make sure Stevenage continues to keep its positive Coronavirus figures as low as possible. The basic guidelines remain the same – washing hands, making space and wearing a mask when going to get essentials.
It is clear #StaySafeStevenage is making a difference to our town, an even better difference. Let’s continue to work together and use the town’s motto to keep all members of our community as safe as possible. Contact us on 01438 242452 and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you need our help. Herts Help can also provide support and can be contacted on 0300 123 4044 or www.hertshelp.net.
Cllr Sharon Taylor, OBE
Leader of Stevenage Borough Council