THE Government's lockdown announcement at the end of March meant an immediate change to all our lives - but the one constant is the support available to communities and businesses from Staffordshire Moorlands District Council.
The council reacted quickly to offer reassurance and to make sure 'normal service' continued to operate, within guidelines, alongside the additional work generated by the response to Covid-19 [coronavirus].
With Council buildings closed to the public and the majority of staff working from home, the delivery of services continued uninterrupted with figures up to early May showing that:
· Contact centre staff responded to 3.828 call and 6,082 webforms
· 333,600 waste collections were carried out - and 33% more dry recycling was collected
· Business grants totalling £19.1m were issued to over 1,700 businesses in the Staffordshire Moorlands
· We responded to 86 business enquiries and made contact with our biggest employers to understand how the situation is affecting them
· 1,629 benefits claims were processed
· 20 rough sleepers were found accommodation
· The Coronavirus Information Hub on our website received 29,400+ visits - with 20,000 hits to the business financial support pages - and our average reach on Facebook was 15,000 per week
Councillor Sybil Ralphs, Leader of Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, said: "Covid-19 has affected all of us in ways we couldn't have imagined just several weeks ago and we are all having to adjust to different ways of living, working and learning.
"But what is clear is that none of us has to do this alone. The strength and spirit of Moorlanders has come to the fore with communities and individuals rising to the new challenges we're facing magnificently and it is heart warming and humbling to see.
"For our part, the council remains very much here to offer our support. We have been able to quickly and effectively respond to the challenges raised by the coronavirus whilst maintaining our usual services in far from usual circumstances.
"And, whilst we are here to serve our communities, it is gratifying to hear that this is very much appreciated by our residents and businesses - so many households have been showing their appreciation for our waste collection crews with drawings and messages of thanks; feedback from businesses who've received grants has been overwhelmingly positive; and we've been delighted to receive comments praising teams across the Council from Environmental Health to parks for the truly excellent service they continue to provide.
"That we have continued to provide our core services and, at the same time, respond to the significant challenges of Covid-19, is testament to the resilience and hard work of our staff and partners who have shown their commitment to ensuring that we come through this as safely as possible. I commend them for all they have done and continue to do.
"Whilst we are not quite there yet, I know that this same spirit and determination will stand the Staffordshire Moorlands in the best place to begin to recover as we gradually ease out of lockdown and move to the future with confidence."
For more information visit www.staffsmoorlands.gov.uk/Coronavirus
Pictured: Moorlands Council leader Sybil Ralphs MBE.