Like everyone else I had very much hoped that we could contain the virus and avoid further restrictions. but as we now head into a new national lockdown I am confident that Worcestershire will respond
In order to protect ourselves and our loved ones we all must take personal responsibility. We will only reduce the risk of catching the virus and spreading it, if everyone keeps to the rules. I know these are tough times but by our collective efforts we can reduce the spread of infection, protect the NHS and save lives.
Working together as “One Worcestershire” the County Council, our District Council colleagues and our partners will continue to provide for our most vulnerable residents. We have worked very hard to keep our care settings as safe as they can be with regular testing for our staff and residents.
We have responded to more than 1,200 requests for PPE, providing masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and disposable aprons, to care homes, nurseries, schools and elsewhere.
Here2Help Worcestershire is our community action service. We have already responded to thousands of requests for assistance and we will continue to do everything we can to help and support those who need it. As we head into this new lockdown, if you are able to help others, perhaps by shopping for those who are isolating or collecting medication for the elderly, then become a Here2Help Volunteer. Go to the Worcestershire County Council website to find out more.
We are working closely with our District Council colleagues, the Local Enterprise Partnership and Worcestershire Business Central to support and advise our business community. In response to COVID-19 we have launched the Here2Help Business programme which offers support and match-funded grants to help local businesses recover, adapt and develop. Since July, the programme has received 350 enquiries. Enterprising Worcestershire is offering support to new and early stage businesses. The Worcestershire Apprenticeships team is providing information, advice and guidance to students, schools, parents and to job centres.
I have seen for myself many examples of Worcestershire’s businesses adapting to the circumstances, adopting new ways of working and making their buildings safe for those staff who are not able to work from home. This innovative and flexible approach that I am seeing time after time will help the Worcestershire economy to recover and will enable the county to thrive and prosper again once the pandemic is over.
I want to thank our schools and early years providers for their hard work and the care that they continue to take to make them safe places to enable education to continue. Working with our Public Health teams we have a system in place to isolate any staff or students who show any symptoms and because of that, consistently, from the beginning of this term, 9 out of 10 pupils in Worcestershire have been in school.
Throughout the lockdown we will make sure that Worcestershire’s roads are safe for all those that need to use them. Working safely our highways maintenance teams will continue to keep our roads in a good condition and as far as possible we will continue to progress our major infrastructure projects. Our gritter crews will remain on standby for when they are needed.
Working together Worcestershire will come through this.
Councillor Simon Geraghty, Leader of Worcestershire County Council