County Hall

Council supporting communities across Northumberland - Friday 20 March

Northumberland County Council has offered further reassurance to residents, businesses and communities as it continues to fully support them through the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak.

The council has robust processes and plans in place to deal with any challenges that the county may face over the next few weeks - with key services prioritised and where possible, with regular guidance from Government, operating as normal.

Following guidance announced on Wednesday, schools will close from today (Friday 20 March 2020), except for children of key workers; events and activities at libraries have been cancelled.

Cllr Peter Jackson, leader of Northumberland County Council, said: “We know this is an incredibly difficult and worrying time for our residents and businesses, and I want to reassure everyone that we have plans in place to continue to deliver critical services to the best of our ability following guidance from the Government.

“It is true to say that our services are, and will continue to be tested as this outbreak develops, but we are working tirelessly to respond and deal with COVID-19 - prioritising those key services such as children's and adult social care, and other services which are vital to our communities.

"Following advice on school closures, we are committed to ensure our vulnerable students and children of key workers get access to the support they need, and I can confirm that for  any child entitled to free school transport, these services will run as normal next week.

“The response from residents and businesses in Northumberland has been incredible, with communities coming together to support the most vulnerable and at risk. There have been so many amazing stories of this community spirit in the voluntary sector and businesses, all responding and adapting to the needs of the communities they serve.

“We all need to continue to work together to support each other, and change our behaviour to help stop the spread of this virus. That is why it is so important that we follow the guidance from the Government and play our part.

“In the coming days we will continue to make announcements on how our services are adapting and responding to the situation, including a volunteering programme where we can come together as a county to support our most vulnerable.

“I am acutely aware of the economic impact to all our communities, and we are working on ways that the Council can assist residents across the county, particularly those in most need.

“We will also work with businesses in helping them to access key grants and loan schemes that have been made available to them. Indeed, a recovery plan is already being developed to support organisations following the outbreak.

"Please be assured that for council suppliers and contractors the message is very clear - it’s business as usuaL - and we're committed to doing our bit to keep businesses going.”

Today the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have made significant announcements. Pubs, clubs and leisure centres will close tonight, and we have all been advised to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. In addition, other financial measures were announced to protect jobs, incomes and businesses.

Cllr Jackson added: “The announcements made today really will affect all of us - life will change as we know it for the foreseeable future. However, the financial measures to protect jobs, incomes and businesses are certainly welcome economic interventions in this continued and unprecedented period of uncertainty.

“Now more than ever it is crucial that we work in partnership to safeguard our communities and our great county.”

A COVID-19 community hub has been set up, outlining our response to the virus.
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