CCIN Members’ Update June 2020

Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE- Chair of the CCIN & Leader of Stevenage Borough Council

Cllr Sharon Taylor OBE – Chair of the CCIN & Leader of Stevenage Borough Council

COVID-19 has already claimed the lives of almost 40k people and the impact on those left behind is incalculable.  Communities remain wary as restrictions on social distancing are relaxed, with those that can’t work from home returning to work, more shops re-opening and year groups gradually returning to school.  Sporting fixtures return to the calendar, and we all wonder whether the freedoms we enjoyed previously will return.

During the crisis we’ve seen unemployment rise, child poverty grow, the use of Foodbanks reach unprecedented levels as job and home insecurity increases.  At the same time many people are struggling with their mental health.  Yet, despite all of this, we are hearing many stories of community cohesion, compassion, collaboration and co-operation.

Local government is on the frontline of the response to COVID-19. When the crisis unfolded, councils immediately set about identifying and responding to urgent local demands including providing business support, setting up community support hubs and by redeploying staff to support shielded groups.

Efforts have focussed on critical services to help the most vulnerable in society, including housing rough sleepers, taking care of the elderly and protecting children who are at risk of abuse or neglect. Councils also play a key role during this pandemic in coordinating local volunteering efforts, building on their existing relationship with the voluntary and community sector (VCS) and working in close collaboration with existing or new community groups to help those in need.  Last month we organised a our first Virtual call for Council Officers to share the Dashboards and Indicators that they are using to measure the impact of COVID-19.  It is this desire to share best practice and learn from one another for the benefit of all our communities that is our cooperative difference.
 
In this issue we share some of the thoughts and observations from co-operative council leaders as we plan for a better future and look at what’s next for local government.  Together we must learn from this crisis and Build Back Better.

Finally, I’m delighted to share Cllr Paul Foster’s insights as to why South Ribble District Council has joined the Network. 

Stay safe and look after each other.

Best wishes

Sharon

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