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Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council’s response to Coronavirus

Published on Thursday, 9th April 2020

An update from the Leader, Cllr Julie Jackson, Brent Davis – Executive Director – Operations and Simone Hines – Executive Director – Resources.

We are facing an unprecedented times and a situation that is fast moving and constantly evolving. The safety of the public and our staff, together with providing as much support as we can to residents, remain our top priorities and we are striving to keep key services operational during this on-going COVID-19 crisis.

Keeping our services running

Council staff have pulled together over the last few weeks in an effort to support local residents and keep essential services running despite the challenges faced during this worrying time.

Staff have been re-deployed into different areas and have adapted to different roles and work schedules in a bid to keep services running, and all have shown a great resilience and adaptability in these testing times.

Action to protect the most vulnerable

The Council has worked in partnership with Warwickshire County Council, the Fire and Rescue Service, Police, NHS and the voluntary and community sectors, and supported by military planners to establish a local helpline and a food distribution hub centre in the borough to ensure our most vulnerable residents have access to vital supplies.

It’s not just food that is being provided, included in the packs are leaflets and advice to give people emotional support at this difficult time as well as guidance to help people stay as physically and mentally well as possible. We are also signposting to services that can accessed remotely such as libraries to keep people engaged with their communities and looking to develop regular welfare checks to keep in touch with people.

Part of the initiative involves supporting the distribution of medicines and community transport and Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service is helping pharmacies to deliver prescriptions to people.

The work will continue in earnest throughout the isolation period and a Government supply chain via food distributors will also assist in providing supplies for those vulnerable residents in the Borough.

Housed our homeless

Since the start of the COVID19 Lockdown, we have placed 4 pre-existing rough sleepers into accommodation, and a further 18 who have presented to us since lockdown and were at risk of rough sleeping.

Waste management

We are working hard to provide all essential waste services during the Coronavirus outbreak. All of our bin collections are currently running as normal, although bins may be collected at a different time of the day than usual – customers should therefore please ensure their bins are presented at 7am on your collection day. As this is a fast changing situation, services may need to be amended at short notice – please look on the Council’s website in the first instance if you need to check if your collections are running normally.

We have suspended bulky waste collections for the foreseeable future and our litter picking and cleansing services have been amended in order to reduce staff contact. We are continuing to monitor the situation daily and will update our customers via the website and social media channels if the coronavirus pandemic further affects any of the waste services we provide.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our waste management operatives for their continuing hard work and we would also like to extend our gratitude to the public who have offered their kind thanks and patience to the workforce in these difficult times.

What can customers do to help?

•             Present bins at 7am

•             Check online or social media for updates

•             Submit enquiries online

•             Clean down bin handles, prior to and after collection

•             Please do not present additional black or green bin side waste, we are not able to collect it

Supporting local businesses & suppliers

Since the government announced several measures to help small businesses deal with the impact of Covid-19, the Council’s Revenues Service have been working hard to administer the changes. We have sent new bills to all those businesses that were eligible for the expanded small business and retail relief and we are now processing the small business grant payments. This has meant that we have needed to collect bank details for businesses where we currently don’t hold them and it has taken some time to do this. We sent our first batches of payments out last week and have continued to send payments this week – almost £9m has been paid out so far.

We are treating the payment of our suppliers as a critical process and have requested that suppliers switch to sending invoices electronically where possible to help us reduce any delays in processing for payment.

The Coventry and Warwickshire Growth Hub are also available to offer advice and support to businesses in the Borough and more information on this is available on their website - http://www.coronavirus.cwgrowthhub.co.uk/

In order to support our market traders during these uncertain times we have suspended all market rent to help reduce the financial strain that traders may face.

Supporting residents and key workers

We have been working hard to implement the changes put in place to help support people who are struggling to pay their rent and their Council Tax and offer payments to be spread over 12 monthly instalments instead of 10. Customers can also now sign up to receive faster updates on benefits and business rates by signing up to receive Electronic notifications/bills via an NBBC portal. The Council is also working on implementing the governments Council Tax Hardship scheme and will be releasing further information on that next week.

NBBC also wish to show its support for all public sector essential workers during these challenging times by offering free parking in all of the NBBC run car parks across the Borough.

Continuing with key projects

We are continuing to work on key projects when time allows, particularly our Transforming Nuneaton Masterplan.  We are continuing to developing our business case for the Future High Street Fund. The draft business case was submitted on March 15 and the final business case will be submitted in July, following an extension of the deadline by the government due to the ongoing COVID19 situation.

We move another step closer to developing a new Bedworth Leisure Centre, with the latest Cabinet report detailing overall positive feedback received following its recent Public Consultation exercise for Leisure and Parks proposals. The feedback received will now be reviewed in more detail and considered for the next stages of work and its project management development .

Staying safe & connected

We understand the difficulties people are facing at this most challenging time. However we ask that our residents keep following the government advice to stay home and continue to practice social distancing measures to ensure that we can all get through this crisis as safely as possible and protect each other against the spread of the virus.

As well as our social media channels, we have a wealth of information on our website to keep you up to date with service disruptions as well as links to government services and third party advice.

Whilst people are doing their bit by staying home, Nuneaton Museum & Art Gallery are finding ways to share their services online and have initiated their first online book club – a great way to help people stay connected and hopefully a welcome distraction in distressing times.

Please continue to - Stay at Home, Protect the NHS and Save Lives