Lockdown success for the Council

Thursday 2 July 2020 Lockdown success for the Council

 

Over the 100 days since lock down began, Ashfield District Council has gone above and beyond to deliver services throughout lockdown.

As the only council in Nottinghamshire not to suspend waste services, our waste collectors ensured that all general waste, recycling and garden waste services continued as normal. On top of this we ran the Bag It! campaign. Residents were able to put out one extra bag of general waste resulting in us collecting an additional 400 tonnes of waste.

Cllr Jason Zadrozny, Leader of Ashfield District Council said “The waste team have gone above and beyond what was expected of them. We know how important it was for residents to continue to have a full waste collection service, the thanks the crews received from residents was incredible and we’d like to thank everyone for their support.

“We’re committed to keeping the District as a place that residents are proud to live in. In July we’ll be delivering Skip into Summer, giving residents yet another opportunity to clear out extra waste and bulky items. Following on from the BIG Spring Clean and Bag it!, we will have collected thousands of tonnes of waste across the District free of charge this year.”

Our parks and green spaces have been more important than ever, as places for residents to enjoy their daily exercise. All our grass cutting services have been maintained, litter bins have been emptied over 22k times and 8000 bedding plants have been planted, ensuring our parks are places you can enjoy. Improvement works have also continued including a new grass maze installed at Sutton Lawn.

Cllr Zadrozny continues “Our parks are looking beautiful at the moment and we hope that residents will enjoy spending time there this summer. As the play parks and equipment start to open in the next couple of weeks, they’re fantastic places for all the family to enjoy.”

The Health & Wellbeing team have provided help and support to the Districts most vulnerable throughout lockdown. 210 Little Bags of Sunshine have been delivered to people living with dementia. Included in the bags were crafts, puzzles and activities suitable for those living with dementia. Next week we will be distributing phase two, these bags will include face masks and further activities to keep people entertained, but also to encourage them to start to venture out into the community if they are able to.

As part of Feel Good Families, 323 activity packs have been distributed to vulnerable families via local schools, the Councils Complex Case team and NHS Link Workers. The bags included activities to keep families and children entertained during lockdown. The Feel Good Families project also donated nearly £400 worth of nappies for families in need via Sutton Academy food bank. An additional 400 activity packs were also distributed to residents living in the Leamington and surrounding area via Sutton Academy food bank, Community Protection Officers’ and Leamington Primary Academy.

Cllr Kier Barsby, Cabinet Member for Health & Leisure said “We have worked with the Districts most vulnerable to ensure that they are supported throughout the lockdown. Council staff have worked with local foodbanks, welfare checks have been made on vulnerable tenants and letters were sent to all tenants over 70 informing them of how to seek help and support. An additional £10k from the Ashfield Voluntary Fund was distributed to foodbanks across the District.

“Support is now moving into the recovery stage and we will continue to support the Districts most vulnerable.”

The Councils Housing Options team also played a vital role throughout lockdown supporting the homeless. The team carried out 90 assessments on residents who were homeless or threatened with homelessness, including a number of rough sleepers. 37 households have been accommodated in Council temporary accommodation. This includes 10 families and 27 single people. Six households seeking temporary accommodation were fleeing domestic violence.

Cllr Tom Hollis, Cabinet Member for Housing said “The governments ‘Everybody in’ direction saw us offer accommodation to all the Districts known rough sleepers. The fantastic news is that 21 of the single households offered accommodation have now moved onto longer term accommodation. An additional eight households have been assisted into privately rented accommodation, with financial assistance from the Council’s bond guarantee scheme and homelessness prevention fund.”

At the beginning of lockdown the government announced a number of funding streams that were available for businesses. Ashfield District Council were issued with £22m as part of the Small Business Rate Relief fund. To date over £17.9M has been distributed to over 1,600 businesses across the District. The Discretionary Grants scheme has seen an additional 140 applicants, money will be issued to successful applicants in the next few weeks.

As well as this, £221,000 of additional Council Tax Hardship funding has been provided to 1,721 low income households providing additional support to those that need it.

The Housing Repairs Team has continued to deliver vital housing repairs throughout lockdown. 2722 repairs have been completed, 789 of these being emergency same day repairs.

Cllr Tom Hollis, Cabinet Member for Housing said “The housing repairs team have continued to deliver a vital service throughout. Using the correct PPE and ensuring safety for tenants and staff, all emergency repairs were completed on time.”

Council meetings have continued ensuring that vital decisions can still be made. Ashfield District Council were the first District Council in the country to hold their Council AGM meeting virtually. Planning meetings have also been held virtually, preventing delays on planning applications including the New Kirkby Leisure Centre.

Food and essential retailers have continued to trade, adapting the way they work to provide residents with food and essential services. Food traders in Idlewells Indoor Market provided much needed delivery services. As our town centres begin to open again we have measures in place to ensure that shoppers can feel safe. Social distancing is in place, shops are limiting the numbers allowed in at any one time and street furniture is being regularly cleaned.

Cllr David Martin, Cabinet Member for Streets, Parks and Town Centres said “Residents have been rediscovering the benefits of shopping local. As more retailers begin to open we are asking residents to continue to shop local and support our high streets. Free parking will remain in all our car parks until 1st September, we will then be offering two hours free parking in all our town centre car parks.”

As the Council begins to move into its recovery phase, Cllr Jason Zadrozny said “I’d like to thank all the staff at Ashfield District Council who have gone above and beyond to deliver a full range of services and have ensured that residents have been supported. Without their hard work and determination, none of these amazing achievements would have been possible.  As we move into the recovery phase we will continue to support residents and businesses as necessary. The Council is committed to ensuring that Ashfield continues to be a fantastic place to live, work and visit.”