Council response to situation, including committee meetings
We dialled-in to a conference call of all councillors with the Council Chief Executive late Monday afternoon to hear about the Council’s response and business continuity plans. The Council have now cancelled all committee meetings.
The Council will be publishing regular updates with advice and details of their response to the situation on the council website. We raised a number of issues, including:
– the need for the Council to issue guidance to ad-hoc voluntary groups that have formed to help those self-isolating with shopping or emergency supplies, including how to handle safeguarding issues;
– ensuring availability of sufficient food at local food banks;
– ensuring suitable co-ordination of voluntary efforts;
– suggested that the Council should close Libraries to align with advice about public and social gatherings;
– we have asked what advice and support will be issued to local small businesses;
– we have asked for advice to be provided in different languages;
– we have asked for the Council to develop a plan for advice and support for hard to reach groups beyond those in touch with social services, including council estates, single parents, vulnerable younger adults, the socially isolated and new communities.
– we have asked the council to have a dedicated team of people working on Covid-19, to have a regularly updated web page and to work with the NHS to consider how the council can provide the maximum local assistance, including additional accommodation for beds should the need arise in the coming months.
You can find the Council’s current advice on Covid-19 here: https://www.barnet.gov.uk/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-information-and-advice
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Helping those in need
As local councillors, we are in the process of contacting local resident and community groups, and any residents we know that are vulnerable, to ask them if they need anything.
How to contact your local councillor
Because of advice around minimising gatherings, we have taken the difficult decision to cancel our weekly advice surgeries until further notice. We are organising posters with our contact details on for each surgery venue (some of which have already taken the decision to close under advice). If you need anything please do contact us using the contact details published here: https://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/mgFindMember.aspx?XXR=0&AC=PARTY&PID=24
Barnet Together and a network of voluntary groups are organising a local fund to help with supporting those in need during this time. Cllr Sara Conway as Labour’s Lead on Communities is involved with their initiative.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
– Share their social media posts
– Encourage donations
– Share their webpage https://www.youngbarnetfoundation.org.uk/coronavirus
– Offer your group’s volunteer services for the coming weeks
IF YOU NEED HELP
If your organisation or community needs help please reach out and let Barnet Together know.
In the meantime….
Please continue to follow regularly updated Government and Public Health England Advice, and take care of yourselves!!! https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
Cllr Barry Rawlings
Leader of the Barnet Labour Group