Council leader: “I would like to thank you all for your continued support during these unprecedented times”
News, Opinion | Philippa Marsden | Published: 11:49, Thursday April 16th, 2020.
Last updated: 11:57, Thursday April 16th, 2020
First and foremost, I would like to thank you all for your continued support during these unprecedented times and for doing your bit to help reduce the spread of coronavirus by staying at home, protecting the NHS and saving lives.
The council continues to adapt and respond to the new pressures that are emerging from this ongoing national emergency and I continue to be impressed by the resilience and dedication of our workforce.
We are having to do things in new and different ways in order to ensure that the organisation can support those most in need across the county borough.
As an example, we are supporting our most vulnerable residents by mobilising an army of volunteers to shop for essential items, pick up medical supplies and provide social support; a number of local schools remain open to care for the children of essential workers and we also have staff delivering free school meals direct to the doorsteps of eligible children.
Our care staff continue to work on the frontline of the coronavirus response, supporting our most elderly and vulnerable residents. Our waste collection crews are out and about every day ensuring that refuse and recycling rounds are completed with minimum disruption. We also have countless other employees who are working in different ways – either at home or redeployed to assist colleagues in other priority service areas.
The general position is that we are responding exceptionally well to the situation and the ‘can do’ attitude of our staff has been instrumental in our overall approach. It’s a fantastic Team Caerphilly effort and I would like to commend everyone involved for their contributions.
In terms of our current position, here are a few key updates:
PPE – The supply and availability of Personal Protective Equipment continues to be a national concern. We have secured twice weekly deliveries for the time being and this should be adequate to meet current demand. We are continuing to closely monitor this key area, as we are acutely aware this situation can change very quickly.
Waste collections – Despite seeing a significant increase in the amount of waste presented for collection, our refuse and recycling rounds remain largely unaffected, although our household recycling sites will be closed for the foreseeable future. The increase in green waste has been significant and we are currently looking at how we can protect this service. One of the options we are considering is a possible limit to the amount of garden waste bags per property that will be collected. We are keen to try and retain this service rather than stop the service, like many other councils have.
Waste disposal – We are aware that many households are starting to accumulate more waste than usual as people start to have a ‘spring clean’ and clear out attics, garages and sheds etc. With our recycling centres being closed at present we are encouraging everyone to keep hold of these items for the time being and work with us to reduce fly-tipping across the area.
Covid-19 business grants – We have approved £19million in grants to 1,614 businesses. This represents over 68% of the applications received to date. In just over two weeks we have responded really positively to help support the local business community at this difficult time. The Welsh Government has also announced a new grant stream to help firms affected by the current lockdown and we will be signposting as many businesses as possible to this additional support.
Free School Meals – We are currently delivering 17,500 meals each week to more than 3,500 eligible children across the county borough. As well as receiving a quality frozen meal, we are also providing a dessert as well as bread and milk to every eligible household. I would like to thank everyone involved in the logistics behind the delivery of these items – it is an unbelievable effort.
Childcare Hubs – Our impressive childcare hubs continue to play a key role ensuring the children of key workers are accommodated wherever there is a need. St James Primary in Caerphilly and Rhiw Syr Dafydd in Oakdale will both open next week as additional childcare sites to expand our provision.
Community response – We continue to support over 1,200 vulnerable people (to date) who need additional support at home. Over 500 council staff are helping to ensure these residents have the support they need by providing them with essential shopping, collecting prescriptions, friendly phone calls and much more.
Bereavement service – Our registrars service is continuing to register the increasing number of deaths in our area and inevitably we are also seeing an increase in the number of burials in our cemeteries. There has been a lot of discussion around Wales as to how many mourners are able to attend funerals and across Gwent, following a detailed risk assessment, we have collectively agreed that 5 mourners, plus clergy and funeral directors is the maximum number we can safely accommodate whilst maintaining the social distancing requirements around the graveside.
If you need any further information regarding what services are running and those that are not, please do take a look at the council website (www.caerphilly.gov.uk) – all the information you need is there.
Finally, I would like to make reference to the weekly celebration of our wonderful health and social care workers and all other key workers. We have all been out on our doorsteps over recent weeks showing our support, but now some people are encouraging the release of sky lanterns. I would urge everyone not to do this as these lanterns are a fire hazard and can also harm our wildlife. There are many other ways to show your support – shout, sing, clap or cheer – but please don’t release a sky lantern.
Take care, stay safe and stay indoors. I will update you again soon.
Latest information on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Most cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) seem to be mild.
Coronavirus is a viral disease that can cause coughing, fever and difficulty breathing. It can be more severe in older people, those with weakened immune systems and some long-term conditions like diabetes or cancer.