Leader's column: Community spirit will see us through challenging times

In her latest Reporter column, Tameside Council's Executive Leader, Cllr Brenda Warrington, stresses the importance of listening to public health advice and urges everyone to support each other in these uncertain times.

Local council, health and community partners already have a strong and close working relationship which will help us keep services running and meet local people’s needs in these uncertain times. 

And one thing that is not in doubt – we have a local community with a big heart and strong community spirit which will ensure we support each other through any difficulties.

I cannot stress enough that we all need to listen to public health advice to keep ourselves, our families, our neighbours and our communities safe. 

New guidance means everyone should be minimising their social contact, reducing unnecessary travel and staying at home if they or anyone in their household has any symptoms. Please follow the daily guidance coming from the government and take extra care if you are over 70, if you are pregnant or have underlying health conditions.

I understand these are unsettling times and people have worries and concerns – we do not know exactly what the coming months will bring. But we can control what we do, what actions we take on a personal and collective level.

We have robust plans in place to keep vital services running during this period, in particular care for older people and those with disabilities. 

We will be managing our workforce in a sensible way, and according to national guidance, to ensure we remain resilient. We will be flexible and work differently if necessary to support our residents – for example this may involve redeploying staff in other roles where there are the greatest pressures and needs. 

Some non-essential services may have to be delivered differently, details of these will be shared via the website and social media if that is the case. Alongside this we are co-ordinating with our partners to minimise the impact on people in our borough. We are working with community groups and businesses to talk about the issue of food accessibility and how we can ensure everyone has access to food whether they are unwell, isolating or caring. 

We are working with housing partners and providers to ensure there are no evictions if there is clear evidence that the resident has been unable to pay rent as a direct result of the coronavirus. We urge Government to give clear guidance on evictions and ensure that no-one is deprived of a home and shelter at this time because of their health. 

Nobody should have to choose between their home and their health. Equally, no-one should choose between a wage and their health. 

We understand for employers and small businesses this is a really difficult time. We are looking at what support local businesses may need. 

We will support those working for our care providers by ensuring they are no worse off. We urge businesses and Government to follow this lead. And of course we are working with schools and other education providers to help ensure the health and wellbeing of those attending.

Finally, we are supporting, encouraging and mobilising the huge community spirit which exists in Tameside. We are already getting many offers of support and already have a robust network of voluntary and community organisations, faith groups and tenant and resident associations with long-standing community relationships and experience of getting things done. We are working closely with them to support mutual aid networks in communities.

This is going to be a difficult period and things will change every day – but we can get through it by thinking of each other with every action, and taking care of our neighbours along with ourselves. 

Tameside has a strong community spirit and this will help us through this time.

Keep up to date with all the latest local and national developments here: https://www.questmedianetwork.co.uk/news/daily-coronavirus-updates/

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