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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Tameside's Communities Leading the Fight against Coronavirus

Thursday, 09 April 2020

Before I begin, I want to take the opportunity to wish the Prime Minister a full and speedy recovery as he continues to battle coronavirus. While I certainly don’t see eye-to-eye with him on the many issues facing our country, I also believe that there are some things that are bigger than politics. My thoughts as well go towards his partner, Carrie Symonds, and unborn child. We should also take this as a harsh reminder that this virus pays no heed to power or position; it can strike anyone and anywhere. It is vital that we continue to take precautions against it at all times.

We are now close to the end of the third week of the lockdown to slow down the spread of the pandemic. At the beginning of this I said that our community spirit would get us through this crisis, and despite the extraordinary difficult circumstances, it is those very same communities that have rallied to help look after our most vulnerable residents. In partnership with Action Together, NHS Tameside and Glossop Clinical Commissioning Group, Tameside Hospital and other partners, we have been able to provide emergency support to those who need it the most.

 

This includes residents whose age or pre-existing conditions have required them to self-isolate for 12 weeks. Many of these people may not have nearby family, friends or neighbours able to support them, so we’ve encouraged them – or somebody they know - to get in touch with us if they need our help. This could be anything from the delivery of essential items such as food or medicine, or even a friendly voice to talk to for an hour or so.

Last week we had already delivered 523 food parcels,  and with the council, community groups, churches and Tameside’s taxi drivers all doing their bit we expect to deliver thousands more over the duration of the lockdown. This has been no easy task to organise, and it would have been outright impossible without the support of members of the public and businesses donating items, and Tameside residents giving up their own time and vehicles to wrap up the parcels and make deliveries. The generosity and dedication of everybody involved has been overwhelming, and we really cannot thank you enough. Our food banks, which have been hard stretched in the current situation, also have a vital role to play in delivering support to those struggling to make ends meet. We’ve launched a major campaign to encourage supermarkets and retailers to donate what they can, and I’m asking everybody reading this to consider putting their hands in their pockets to contribute a few items on their weekly shops.

Another thing that has been so uplifting to see over the past few weeks has been the way that members of the public have shown their support for our key workers. I know for a fact that the medical professionals at Tameside Hospital have left absolutely no stone unturned to help those who have shown up at their door with severe coronavirus symptoms. I also want to highlight our social care teams, who have been working 24 hours a day 7 days a week to make sure that many vital services remain available. This has taken the strain off our hospitals and allowed elderly and vulnerable residents to continue living in dignity and comfort in their own homes. Many of us have taken part in the nationwide clap on Thursday evenings for those on the very front lines of the struggle against coronavirus, the NHS and our key workers. But I’ve always believed that words need to be backed up by action, which is why I’m also delighted to announce that Greater Manchester has agreed to back our NHS and social care workers by offering them free tram and train transport within the whole of the city region until at least 1st June. 

In the face of a global pandemic, our bin men are going above and beyond the call of duty to keep a full collection service running. That’s why we’ve encouraged residents to #wavetoyourbincrew over the past week, and it’s fair to say that we’ve all been blown away by the response. Residents of all ages have joined in – with both children and older people waving from their windows and gardens, and leaving notes and pictures showing their thanks and support. Some streets have gone as far as giving the waste teams a round of applause. I think it’s been a great way to cast the spotlight on our unsung heroes doing a job that, while not often considered glamorous, is nonetheless absolutely essential.

 

The past few weeks have not been easy, and they are likely to get harder still as the struggle against coronavirus goes on. But thanks to the hard work and support of our residents and council workers I am more confident than ever that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We will get there, and we will get there together. For the moment however, please continue to stay at home, stay safe, and protect yourself and others.
 

Posted by: Executive Leader


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