As I write the government have taken the decision to extend lockdown measures for another three weeks. While this may be unsurprising, given the very sad figures from hospitals across the country, I know that it is still very hard to hear that there is still no end to the restrictions.
So at this very difficult time, the first thing I want to say to you all is, keep going. Our battle against Covid-19 is a marathon, not a sprint – we have already come an incredibly long way and achieved so much. All the sacrifices you are making as individuals in your daily lives, and all the work we are doing as a community to help and supporting others, are making a real difference. Whether by working on the frontline, or staying at home, you are saving lives, and it is crucial that we all continue our efforts.
Covid-19 is a huge, huge challenge but Croydon is rising to it, and I know that together we will continue to do so. Every day, I see more examples of our borough’s incredible spirit, strength and resilience, and it never fails to inspire me – I hope it does the same for you.
Taking care of your health
The second thing I want to say is, please look after yourselves and each other. It may feel very much like coronavirus is the only thing that matters right now, but it is crucial that we do not neglect our overall physical and mental health, and we stay as fit and well as possible.
If you become unwell, or need medical advice, Croydon’s GPs are still very much available, offering telephone and online consultations. If you have coronavirus symptoms your first port of call should be 111, but for all your other medical needs, please don’t forget your GPs are here for you. I also want to take this opportunity to thank all our GPs, nurses and practice staff for their care and commitment to support our patients during this time.
And if you or anyone you know is struggling with mental health, please don’t suffer in silence – there are many local support services who can help. You can find more information on the health and well-being pages of our website
As this health crisis continues, it is becoming increasingly vital that the government deliver on their responsibilities with regards to COVID-19 testing and protective equipment (PPE) for our care home residents and staff.
We take great pride in the excellent care home staff looking after our most vulnerable residents, and together with other councils we have been pushing the government hard on this issue. I welcome their pledge this week to roll out testing and PPE to this important group, and we will be monitoring the situation closely.
In the meantime, we continue to do we can to boost local supplies of PPE, and many thanks to the many businesses who have responded to our call-out to donate or sell PPE for frontline health and social care staff.
Financial help and support
I also want to remind you that if you are experiencing hardship or financial difficulties – perhaps your circumstances have changed as the weeks go by – there is help at hand.
Our officers can provide welfare advice and support to those in need, including employment advice and opportunities – visit our Covid-19 webpages for all the information and how to get in touch.
This applies to our businesses as well as our residents. In a major drive to help businesses access support, we have contacted 4,000 small businesses locally in a range of ways to ask them to take up their government grants funding, but so far only received responses from around half. So please, if you think you haven’t heard from us, or haven’t yet responded, do get in touch. Again, you can find out more on the Covid-19 business pages of our website.
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council