Councillor Dorothy Kirk has shared this briefing which has been edited for relevance:
Council Tax support
The Government has announced a further contribution to the Council Tax Hardship Fund so that we are able to give everyone of working age currently receiving Council Tax Support (22,000 households) an extra £150. This will happen automatically and those people who are currently in receipt of Council Tax Support will receive a reduced Council Tax bill shortly.
This will take a little bit of time to sort out so if people have difficulties in the meantime they should contact us to discuss their circumstances.
Further information on Council tax support can be found here.
Member resilience (please note ‘member’ refers to Cornwall Councillors)
Teams across the Council are working to ensure that wellbeing advice and support is available to communities and internally to our workforce and I wanted to ensure that Members [Cornwall Councillors], too are aware of the support available.
Please be patient with officers who will be juggling high workloads, multiple demands and unfamiliar working arrangements.
The Constitution and Governance Committee and Group Leaders met yesterday to consider the interim decision-making arrangements. I would like to stress that no formal meetings will take place at present as this would not be compliant with the current Government advice. The recommendations cover a range of practical arrangements and are designed to ensure the continuity of governance during this time. Further details will be shared with Members shortly.
Today we are launching a massive recruitment drive for more carers to support those who urgently need more care and support in these times of crisis.
It is estimated that we will need to recruit around 4000 carers in the next couple of weeks to make sure all of the people who need help are able to get it, over the next three months and beyond.
We will be working with Corserv and with Volunteer Cornwall to get as many people as possible to answer the call for help and we are already releasing members of council staff from roles that are not currently essential to join the cause.
I’d like to ask for your support in getting this message out there as far and wide as possible and a media release with the social media links will sent round to all of you tomorrow.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Many people have been asking about the availability of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This is a national issue, and we are doing all we can to secure stocks for Cornwall. As well as appealing for more from central Government, we are also asking for anyone with any stocks locally to get in touch, so we can distribute it to where it is most needed.
We are also working with our health partners and our care providers to ensure any supplies get to the right place.
One of the issues with PPE though has been inappropriate usage.
PPE is only necessary if you are seeing/supporting someone who has symptoms of COVID-19 and you are providing personal care /needing physical contact that brings you within one metre of them.
Please remember, social distancing and hand washing are the main tools in the battle against COVID-19.
We have now confirmed the closure of all our office buildings, with the exception of the following:
- New County Hall
- Chy Trevail
- Dolcoath Avenue
There are also a number of specific operational buildings which services are keeping open for their teams only.
Building Closure notices are being placed at all sites.
Cornwall Council’s natural environment facilities and projects
Cornwall Council is not planning to physically close any playgrounds, play areas, skate parks, sports pitches and courts, formal or other parks, open spaces, beaches or public rights of way.
The Council will install temporary notices at playgrounds and similar facilities to remind people of Government restrictions. In formal parks in busy locations the Council may install temporary notices to remind people of Government guidelines on social distancing. [NB Parish and Town Councils were told at the beginning of the week that Government directive was to close play areas – an instruction that we followed on 24-03-2020]
Safety inspections will continue but there will inevitably a reduction in some works e.g. grass cutting and be delays in some major projects such as Making Space for Nature, Urban Trees and Forest for Cornwall. These will be reviewed in due course.
Footpaths, bridleways and byways remain open for the public to use to get to work, medical appointments or as part of their daily exercise routine. Cornwall Council has had a small number of requests to close public rights of way which are located near to people who are self-isolating but with over 4,500 km of rights of way there are no plans to do so.
Cornwall Link connects individuals, families, carers, volunteers, and healthcare professionals with services and social activities in their area. The idea behind the platform is to reduce social isolation through these connections, encouraging people to join in community-led activities on-line. Within Cornwall Link a support site has been developed by Age UK Cornwall and Made Open Communications that will be focused to provide a community portal and support system to connect people during the coronavirus pandemic.
It forms part of the Inclusion Matters Partnership led by Cornwall Rural Community Charity (CRCC) also including Disability Cornwall, Inclusion Cornwall and the Digital Inclusion Team at Cornwall Council, and can be found here: https://cornwall-link.madeopen.co.uk/
If a person does not have access to the internet, the information from the site is also available via the Inclusion Matters Helpline on 01872 266383 during business hours.
Please signpost and use this platform to connect with your communities.
All coronavirus related enquiries or issues to our dedicated email address firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone who needs help can request a volunteer by ringing 01872 265300 or emailing email@example.com.