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Council reflects on response to Covid-19 pandemic

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WARRINGTON Borough Council has published a document exploring its response to the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic so far.

The publication, which details the actions the council has taken in the face of the pandemic, was recently presented to Cabinet members and is now also separately available on the council website.
It discusses in detail how the council set up its initial response to the pandemic and how it continues to deliver services to Warrington’s residents, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19.
The council’s initial response: putting our most vulnerable first
The council’s initial response to COVID-19 prioritised ensuring that Warrington’s residents and businesses who needed most help and support, received it. This included:
·Recruiting more care workers to support direct care to vulnerable, elderly and frail residents
·Supporting free school meals for every eligible child
·Keeping schools open to vulnerable children and those of key workers
·Distributing food parcels through the Safe and Well scheme
·Providing a homeless emergency centre to support people sleeping rough
·Keeping all three waste collection streams operating
·Financially supporting businesses by issuing relief grants
The council’s initial response also included formally redeploying more than 50 staff into new, temporary roles to help on the front line of the pandemic response, with staff supporting the out of hours telephone line for vulnerable people and helping to set up a PPE distribution centre for care staff, for example.

Partnership working crucial to the response
Central to the council’s response was its ability to work positively with other key delivery partners. This included Warrington Voluntary Action, who helped organise a huge community support effort, alongside more formal partnerships with other councils in the region, the NHS, police and other services to ensure the response was well coordinated.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Russ Bowden, said: “I’m very proud and thankful for the way officers responded to the pandemic, particularly in the early stages where a decisive response was essential. My fellow Cabinet members and I have been liaising closely with officers – who really have been working round the clock – to make sure we’ve been well prepared in dealing with the COVID-19 response in Warrington.
“From our children’s centre staff hosting Youtube baby and toddler classes and our bin crews collecting all three waste streams, to distributing business relief of around £34 million and setting up the Safe and Well food parcel and support scheme, officers have shown outstanding resilience and commitment to the people of Warrington.
“Before the pandemic, people may have been forgiven for thinking that councils just empty bins, sweep streets and repair potholes, but the pandemic really has shone a light on the number of services local authorities provide, alongside the herculean efforts of officers behind the response.
“This publication is not a celebratory document, but a realistic assessment of our response and notes in detail what we’ve done well, alongside opportunities for us to reflect upon. I would encourage you all to read it to understand the council’s work in combatting the effects of coronavirus locally.”

To read about the council’s response to coronavirus in full, visit warrington.gov.uk/covid-response

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Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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