Falkirk Council's response to the COVID-19 situation has been detailed in a report to councillors.
Work to support local communities through these challenging times – including assisting 5,600 people shielding from the virus – has seen a rapidly changing situation, with Council staff stepping up to face the threat head-on across our communities.
Responding to COVID-19
A recent report to the Council’s Emergency Executive highlighted the activities that took place from mid-March, when a rapid response was required, to looking forward to recovery and renewal stages in the future.
The response has taken place on two levels – supporting the work of Scottish Government nationally as well as continuing to deliver as far as possible local services.
On the national level work carried out included:
- Assisting 5,600 shielding from COVID-19 through the Support for People service which has received around 4,000 calls to date
- Helping to distribute food and care packages on the ground
- Paid out almost £17m to 1,500 local businesses through the Government’s grant schemes
- Offering transport to NHS workers to allow supplies to be transferred as well as assisting with testing
- Supporting the national need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for key workers
On a local level, many important services have been maintained as well as vulnerable residents (both children and adults) continue to be looked after including:
- School hubs set up to care for children of critical workers
- 2,500 grab and go meal bags provided every day for any child who needs one
- Providing online and print learning resources for families to use in conjunction with teachers to ensure learning continues
- Checking in all children and young people who are considered vulnerable or at risk
- Supporting hundreds who received adult social care often in very difficult circumstances as well as continuing to provide other support services as part of the local Health and Social Care partnership
- Maintaining a residual and food waste service throughout with limited interruptions to other recycling services
Dozens of other services have continued throughout with planning continuing to take place to work on their re-introduction in line with Government guidance if necessary.
At the meeting there was cross-party agreement by members of the Emergency Executive that further reports be produced as soon as practical on a range of key areas that will help shape the recovery plans post COVID-19 including: Education and a return to schools; work on the economy and support for businesses and for communities; looking at Council budgets and potentially different ways of working as well as the longer term vision of how the Council delivers services in the future.
Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, Convener of the Emergency Executive said: “Throughout the whole COVID-19 situation our overarching priorities have been to minimise its impact in local communities, protect and support the most vulnerable and to get back to as normal a situation as soon as possible.
“We are still supporting a massive response effort by staff as well as community volunteers who have been remarkable throughout in the efforts to help.
“Our long-term business plans will also be affected so these are being revised so that they can still deliver the transformation needed in the coming years to be an effective Council.
“We have had to adapt to a new way of living and working however, technology has helped us a lot and we may well adapt some of our experiences for use in the future.
“Our communities still have a long way to go and we know there will still be many challenges ahead especially in the health and business sectors and we will do everything we can in our power to support this moving on.
“This has been the most significant challenge for the Council to ever face however we have a complete drive and commitment to continue to support our residents in all our local communities and move on to perhaps a different normality in the coming months and years.”