Falkirk Council plan for  life after coronavirus

Councillors gathered – via video conference – to help Falkirk Council plan how it will help the district to recover from the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

By Kirsty Paterson
Thursday, 21st May 2020, 4:45 pm

At the meeting of the emergency executive there was cross-party agreement that further reports be produced as soon as practical on key areas that will help shape the recovery plans post Covid-19.

These include education and a return to schools; work on the economy and support for businesses and for communities; looking at Council budgets and potentially different ways of working as well as the longer term vision of how the Council delivers services in the future.

Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, convener of the emergency executive said: “Throughout the whole Covid-19 situation our overarching priorities have been to minimise its impact in local communities, protect and support the most vulnerable and to get back to as normal a situation as soon as possible

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Ensuring schoolchildren still had access to meals was an important task for the council

“We are still supporting a massive response effort by staff as well as community volunteers who have been remarkable throughout in the efforts to help.

“Our long-term business plans will also be affected so these are being revised so that they can still deliver the transformation needed in the coming years to be an effective Council.

“We have had to adapt to a new way of living and working. However, technology has helped us a lot and we may well adapt some of our experiences for use in the future.

“Our communities still have a long way to go and we know there will still be many challenges ahead especially in the health and business sectors and we will do everything we can in our power to support this moving on.

“This has been the most significant challenge for the Council to ever face. However, we have a complete drive and commitment to continue to support our residents in all our local communities and move on to perhaps a different normality in the coming months and years.”

The meeting highlighted the council’s response to the pandemic – supporting the work of Scottish Government nationally as well as continuing to deliver as far as possible local services.

On the national level work carried out included:

Helping to support around 5600 shielding from Covid-19 through its Support for People Service which has received around 4000 calls to date as well helping to distribute food and care packages on the ground;

Around 1500 local businesses helped through the Government’s grant schemes paying out almost £17m to date;

Offering transport to NHS to allow supplies to be transferred as well as assisting with testing;

Supporting the national need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for key workers.

On a local level, many important services have been maintained as well as vulnerable residents (both children and adults) continue to be looked after including:

School hubs set up to care for children of critical workers and to provide around 2500 grab and go meal bags every day for any child that needed one;

Providing online and print learning resources for families to use in conjunction with teachers to ensure learning continues;

Checking in all children and young people who are considered vulnerable or at risk;

Supporting hundreds who received adult social care often in very difficult circumstances as well as continuing to provide other support services as part of the local Health and Social Care partnership;

Maintaining a residual and food waste service throughout with limited interruptions to other recycling services.

Dozens of other services have continued throughout with planning continuing to take place to work on their re-introduction in line with Government guidance if necessary.

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