Plans are well underway at Stafford Borough Council to recruit an army of volunteers ready to help ensure essential supplies get to the most vulnerable people in the area.
The council has been asked by the Government to become a community hub working with partners, charities and voluntary organisations across the borough to help efforts to minimise the effect of the Coronavirus.
A dedicated page is available on their website for how people can get in touch with the council as well as signposting to important Government guidance for people and businesses.
The council will be coordinating deliveries of medical supplies, food and other provisions for some of the most ‘at risk’ residents in the borough – and are asking anyone who wants to help to get in touch.
The Government announced over the weekend that 1.5 million people nationwide who are the most vulnerable would be receiving a letter telling them to stay at home for three months because of the risks the virus poses to them.
Council Leader, Patrick Farrington, called on the community to rally round at this time and get in touch with the local authority if they think they can help. “It has been amazing to hear about the offers of help we have already received. By working together and supporting each other we will demonstrate the true meaning of ‘community’. We will be looking to you – the volunteers, organisations, businesses and other groups, to help us meet this challenge. The council will be on the frontline with our partners in ensuring vital medical supplies and other provisions reach the most vulnerable.”
Many local people and groups are already delivering food and support in their neighbourhoods and where possible the local authority will co-ordinate services to minimise duplication – making sure the appropriate help reaches those that need it most.
He added that the council was also working hard to continue services to the public: “Our preparations have prioritised maintaining key services such as refuse collection, street cleansing and benefit and housing support for residents.
“Thank you to the council staff, and all those who are already going above and beyond, to put our residents and customers first. We have cancelled some council events and meetings for the foreseeable future taking heed of the Government’s ‘social distancing’ advice.”
People wanting to volunteer or who are in need of help can visit www.staffordbc.gov.uk/coronavirus for more information. You can also contact the council at firstname.lastname@example.org , 01785 619 000, or via twitter @staffordbc or facebook. You can also find specific business advice at www.staffordbc.gov.uk/business-support-coronavirus
The council has already announced that the garden waste brown bin collection has been suspended – this will allow them to prioritise residual waste and recycling. Victoria Park in Stafford and Stonefield Park in Stone have both been closed to minimise social contact and protect the public. Public toilets have also been closed. The Farmers Markets in Stafford and Stone will not go ahead – neither will the Wednesday outdoor market in Stafford and scheduled ‘Makers Markets’.
Signs have also gone up on other parks urging people to follow government guidance around social distancing.