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April 17: Coronavirus (COVID-19) update from Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

17 April 2020

Update on Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's response to Coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Council Leader, Councillor Bob Cook.

Image of Stockton on Tees Borough council logo

We continue to work within a well-established set of structures governing how agencies work together to respond to keep people safe and well-informed during a major incident. As we are in a relatively stable way of working, we now provide weekly updates on the last working day of the week.

Of course, should there be any urgent or significant news to communicate in the interim then this will be done via the Council's news pages and social media channels. You can also keep informed on all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related developments in Stockton-on-Tees - including new Council support services and disruptions to some regular Council services - by visiting our dedicated webpage Our People.

I am also keen to remind people of the help and support that the Council is providing during this incredibly challenging time.

Family Hubs

Our four Family Hubs - Billingham, Redhill, Stockton and Thornaby - will close to the public from Monday (April 20). There will be limited access for staff by appointment. Family Hub staff will still be available by telephone on:

  • Billingham Family Hub 01642 524731
  • Redhill Family Hub 01642 527224
  • Stockton Family Hub 01642 528977
  • Thornaby Family Hub 01642 528947

Help for families with children who usually receive free school meals

I'd like to thank everybody involved in the work we've done to provide free school meals from our four Family Hubs. It has enabled us to help so many families at a time of great need and we have kept this in place until today, the end of the Easter holidays. This scheme has provided an amazing 1,300 meals every day to local families through the Family Hubs and voluntary groups.

Help for parents/carers of children still attending school

The vast majority of schools in the Borough remain open for children of key workers and vulnerable children. If a school does need to close and you need help arranging alternative provision then the Council's School Support Service can help. For more details visit Our People.

Help for care providers

We continue to work very closely with the Borough's care homes, domiciliary care providers and many individual personal assistants and informal carers who look after some of our most vulnerable residents. We are in daily contact with many of the homes and care providers and are supporting them as they continue to operate in extremely challenging circumstances. We are working intensively with Public Health England to identify and develop additional support arrangements to shield and protect our care homes. We are also ensuring that all their needs are being raised through the Local Resilience Forum so they are escalated to Government as a matter of urgency.

Help for the vulnerable and elderly

The 'COVID Community Support Team', a partnership between the Council, Catalyst and the Borough's brilliant VCSE organisations, has been going for four weeks now and in that time it has provided help to almost 2,000 vulnerable and elderly residents. It's been a truly remarkable effort by all involved and it will continue for as long as needed.

Help ranges from food deliveries, shopping and picking up prescriptions to making sure people who are self-isolating and may be worried or lonely get the right support they need. The team operates seven days a week and phone lines are open from 9am to 5pm on weekdays, and from 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays. You can call 01642 524500 for assistance.

Help for businesses

We have now processed £22million of business grant payments to 1,912 eligible businesses in the Borough - that's 77 per cent of the total. There are some businesses that we still need additional information from in order to process their grant payments and we are busy contacting them.

If you have not yet been in touch, you can find eligibility details and an online form on our dedicated webpage Help for businesses or call our Business and Enterprise team on 01642 528384.

Help for people struggling to pay Council Tax

We appreciate that people may be struggling to pay their Council Tax and have helped 1,400 people with alternative payment arrangements and Council Tax Support. If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax due to the pandemic, please get in touch. We will explore all possible options with you. Please email and include in your email your name and address, telephone number, your preferred email address, your Council Tax account number, and a brief outline of your circumstances. If you are unable to email please call 01642 397108 instead. You can also find out more on our dedicated webpage: Council tax.

Stay calm

It is important that people remain calm, follow the latest national advice on the steps needed to reduce the spread of infection, and use only official sources of information when getting this advice.