“As we move into the second week of lockdown we continue to build on and strengthen on Croydon’s united response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yesterday I joined council cabinet members and our chief executive for a virtual meeting with leaders from across Croydon’s public, private and voluntary sectors, to coordinate our activity at a strategic level.
Our borough has always been a strong partnership – the council, the NHS, the police, fire brigade, business representatives and voluntary sector – and now more than ever we are joining forces to ensure that our community’s needs are met.
Last week I told you how we as a council have swiftly implemented an operational shift, delivering services in new ways during lockdown while increasing capacity in critical areas – to keep collecting your bins, cleaning streets, and caring for children and the elderly.
And our partners are doing the same, from increasing intensive care capacity in our hospital; to continuing to deliver GP appointments online; targeting police work, backing businesses and mobilising the voluntary sector. Through this combined effort, we are working to ensure we leave no gaps and no one is left behind.
Above all, Croydon’s organisations are supporting each other, and working as a partnership at a London and national level to ensure that Croydon is represented and able to access any resources available.
Our #CroydonTogether social media campaign has this week highlighted this united Croydon in action. More on that below – but I want to say a huge thanks right now to everyone we have featured. Please do check it out if you haven’t already.
Our Covid-19 hubs, where the council is coordinating targeted support for our most vulnerable residents, are a fantastic example of Croydon’s partnership at work, as we work together to deliver food and essential supplies to those in need.
In these hubs and boroughwide, voluntary and community groups continue to play a hugely important role and are absolutely on the frontline of our response.
So this week we have announced a new council fund to strengthen Croydon’s sector during this time.
Organisations involved in the Covid-19 response can apply for up to £10k, to help mitigate the impact on their resources, as they go above and beyond for residents, and enable them to continue their important work now and in future.
More details available on the fund and how to apply are available here.
Financial support for residents and businesses
This week we announced a raft of new measures as we continue to do all we can to help those experiencing difficulties as a result of Covid-19.
As part of our £4.4m package of council tax support for residents, the council tax hardship fund will give residents that are of working age and receiving council tax support, a further reduction of up to £150 from their council tax bill during 2020/21.
Residents entitled to this reduction do not need to apply for it and will be sent an updated council tax bill in the coming weeks.
We are also offering the option for those experiencing difficulties to defer council tax payments – you can find out more, including how to apply, on our help with council tax webpage.
Council staff have been working around the clock to help to those whose finances have been impacted; helping them to access benefits or other financial support. There is also a huge amount of information on the Covid-19 pages of our website dedicated to those experiencing hardship – please do check it out.
Our free jobs brokerage service, Croydon Works, is also recruiting to a wide range of roles as local businesses create new positions amid the coronavirus outbreak, so if you are seeking employment visit their website.
At the same time we are backing our local businesses, helping them to access government grants and our own local package of advice and support. Full details are available here.
Stay safe in the sun
With good weather predicted for this weekend, it may be tempting to head outside, but I want to urge everyone, to put safety first and stick to the social distancing and stay at home rules.
That means leaving your house only when it’s absolutely necessary – for daily exercise, food and medical supplies – and don’t meet others outside your household or gather in our parks.
This is the only way we will prevent the spread of Covid-19 and protect our community, so please do follow the government advice
I want to thank everyone, once again, for the fantastic effort you are all making for Croydon – those in the community, staff at our partner organisations like the NHS, the police and fire services, our schools, and also here at the council.
That’s those working on the frontline – social workers, bin men – but also those behind the scenes – staff operating phone lines, those in warehouses, teachers preparing online lessons, and those who are coordinating and manging this colossal effort. Our chief executive Jo Negrini and her teams have been working virtually 24/7 since Covid-19 hit just a few short weeks ago, keeping our key services going.
Our #CroydonTogether campaign on social media has this week highlighted many of the wonderful ways everyone is doing their bit and using their skills to support their community in a huge variety of ways.
Even Croydon’s amazing cultural scene continues online, with organisations and individuals across the borough using their creativity to brighten people’s days indoors, streaming concerts, shows and other resources.
Some fantastic examples of everyone’s work have been shared, so please do keep on sharing using #CroydonTogether – they inspire us all. You can see some of the examples from this week here – huge thanks to all.
Finally I want to say that while our focus is absolutely on the critical issues, we still have an eye to the future, and ensuring that Croydon is in a strong recovery position when this public health threat has passed.
Even as we fight Covid-19, we are working hard to get some of the council’s democratic committees – such as planning – online so at least some of our public-facing business can continue. I will keep you updated on these as soon as I can.
In the meantime, please do keep reading our newsletter, follow us on social media – staying in touch is more important now than ever.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council