Gravesham and the November lockdown
As you will doubtless be aware, the Government has introduced new social measures to tackle rising COVID-19 infection rates.
As Leader of the Council I am writing to each of our local residents to identify the impact this will make to our daily lives in the coming weeks and to advise on how the council is here to help you in these challenging times.
As of Thursday, you may only leave home for a limited set of reasons. These are:
- For education;
- For work, if you cannot work effectively from home;
- For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household, support bubble or on your own with one person from another household;
- For all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm;
- To shop for food and essentials;
- And to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.
I know these are once again worrying times for everyone, but please try not to be unduly alarmed by this latest news. The implementation of additional restrictions is designed to slow the spread of the virus and to protect the most vulnerable in our community.
During the original lockdown, I took tremendous heart and pride from the way the Gravesham community rallied around to support each other. Now is the time for that spirit to come to the fore again.
These latest measures differ to lockdown as we knew it during the spring and early summer. The Government has made it very clear that it expects public services such as local authorities to remain open and fully functional this time around.
We will, of course, continue to provide our frontline services such as household waste and recycling collections, street cleansing, and repairs to council-owned homes. If you are one of our tenants with a visit from our maintenance team already booked, we will be contacting you to ask if you are still comfortable for the appointment to take place.
Other council services such as planning, environmental health and community safety will continue to operate in a COVID-safe way.
These latest regulations allow for the following to remain open, but users must follow all COVID-19 safety measures and maintain social distancing:
- Parks and country parks
- Household Waste Recycling Centres (slots must be pre-booked via www.kent.gov.uk)
While the Government is not re-introducing the shielding programme that saw us support the most vulnerable in our communities through the spring and early summer, support will still be available for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable, of which there are just under 5,000 in Gravesham.
We have a good knowledge and understanding of who those are in our local community following our work with you throughout this year and will be making contact with each and every one of you to ensure you have a support network in place or that you know how and where to ask for help if you need it.
If you are vulnerable and in need our help and support or know of someone who is, please email us via firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01474 337070.
I know that many of you are also struggling financially, possibly for the first time, as a result of having lost your job or having been furloughed because of the pandemic.
If you are struggling to pay your rent or council tax, please contact us as soon as possible so that we can find a way to help you.
You can contact us via www.gravesham.gov.uk, or by calling our customer service team on 01474 337000
In recent weeks, we have supported a number of local charities with grant funding so they can continue to help those facing hardship as a result of the pandemic. We are lucky to have an incredible range of charities, volunteers and support groups operating in the Borough and dedicated to helping local people get through these difficult times.
Our COVID-19 advice pages at www.gravesham.gov.uk include links to those groups, and also have trustworthy updates on the latest Government measures, guidance and regulations.
Gravesham Borough Council will continue to work with the Public Health authorities and other partners to slow the growth in infections in our Borough and to ensure you, our residents, are playing your part and following the rules.
We are here to provide support and advice for you.
Updates will be shared via our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin social media pages, our websites www.gravesham.gov.uk and news.gravesham.gov.uk, and through media releases to the local press.
None of us wanted to hear this latest news. Gravesham has been getting back on its feet after lockdown. The number of visitors to Gravesend town centre have returned to close to pre-COVID levels and some wonderful new independent businesses have opened in the town.
So we cannot pretend these new measures are not a blow. But these are blows we can weather. Working together as #OneCommunity once again, we will come through these most difficult of times.
Above all, stay safe.