Wealden District Council
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Supporting the communities in Wealden

Publish Date: 1 April 2020

It has been a very busy week for all the staff and councillors at the Council as they continue to put a wide range of measures in place to support local communities in the difficult days ahead.

Wealden flag

“We appreciate the stress caused by financial hardship and worry. Many of our teams have been working hard to ensure the financial support announced by Government  is delivered  to the businesses and households who need it.  I am pleased to say a great deal of progress has already been made,” said Cllr Bob Standley, Leader of Wealden District Council.

“Some 3,500 Wealden residents who currently receiving council tax support have already had their council tax accounts credited by up to £150 from the Government’s Hardship Fund.

“Local businesses have also been seriously affected. As well as suspending business rates for the coming year for over 2,200 local businesses, we have put in place  arrangements to get the grants paid to all the local businesses who qualify under the Government scheme.  Through the Government’s Cash Grant for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Sectors, eligible businesses can claim  either  £25,000 or £10,000 as a cash grant, depending upon the size of the business. It is important that all those Wealden business who think they may be eligible apply now by completing the Covid-19 Business Support Grant Form which can be filled in online from our website. Together, these measures will go some way to help prevent closures and redundancies. We also hope that any businesses that are temporarily closed are claiming the 80% wage payments from Government for any furloughed staff.

“The other main thrust of the work we have been doing this week is setting up the Community Hub for Wealden,” explained Chief Executive Trevor Scott. “This is to make sure that everyone who is isolating at home receives support if they need it. There are three groups of people who are key to this work:

  • Any individuals in the clinically extremely vulnerable category, who may not yet have been contacted by the NHS. If they don’t already have support from friends or family, they should go the Government website to register to make sure they receive deliveries of food and medical supplies.
  • In Wealden, we want to hear from anyone else who is self-isolating, and is potentially vulnerable and needs support as they are not already getting support from friends, family, neighbours or community groups. The aim of the Community Hub is to act as a safety net for those people who are not already receiving any help. If you are over 70, we will try to get in touch with you, but please do contact us if you need assistance. Or you may have concerns about someone who lives close by. If you do, please contact us via the Community Support page of our website. Your information could be very important. A lot of great work is already being done by community groups, town and parish councils, and residents to ensure people are cared for. Similar arrangements are in place in all districts and boroughs across East Sussex.
  • We also want to hear from volunteers who may be able to help by delivering supplies to people’s doorsteps or just by ringing up to chat to people who feel socially isolated.

“It is a big project, but it will prove vital in the weeks ahead.

“Biffa’s refuse and recycling crews continue to play an essential role in ensuring everyone’s waste is safely removed. They are taking strict precautions to avoid the spread of the virus to their colleagues, and their commitment to this service has been outstanding. I understand people’s frustration at not having a garden waste collection service for a temporary period, but we must all remember just why these measures are taking place. Garden waste can be safely stored or composted in your own garden until a time when it can be moved.

“Most council staff are working from home as we continue to provide our services and put these support measures in place. It represents a challenge but thanks to the investment we have made in digital technology over the years, we are succeeding.

“We’d like to pay tribute to everyone in the public sector who is working so well to combat the spread of this disease. In times of crisis, the NHS, local government, the blue light services and many other vital workers are really pulling together and we should all be proud of the efforts they are making to help our local communities and people.”

The Wealden website is being updated a number of times each day with the latest information about Covid-19 support arrangements and changes to our services. We are also alert people through social media. Whatever your reason, if you need the help of Wealden District Council, please email us at info@wealden.gov.uk or call us on 01323 443322.