To the residents of Blaenau Gwent,
The Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread and understandably people are concerned and unsettled. As the Leader of Blaenau Gwent Council I wanted to reach out to our communities during these difficult times to reassure you that as a Council we are working hard with a number of partners to respond effectively, determinedly and proportionately to this crisis.
There’s no doubt that the next few weeks and months are going to be tough, but be assured that we will continue to provide the best possible support to our communities. I would urge everyone to remain calm and positive and to continue following the official advice from public health authorities and the Government. This is ultimately for the benefit of everyone in our communities, but particularly those most vulnerable and at risk. At the moment the advice is changing frequently, so please make sure you are up to date with the latest so that we can all do our best to stay as safe as possible.
This past week we have worked to sustain services, but inevitably this has to change, and from next week there will be some substantial changes to non-essential services. This is so that we can continue delivering those essential services that people rely most upon.
Like all public organisations we do have staff who will need to stay at home and self-isolate, and some who will have urgent family responsibilities, and it is vital we do all we can to support them and look after their welfare too. However, we must ensure that essential services continue and we are working to redeploy staff from their everyday roles into critical areas such as Social Services and parts of Community Services including waste & recycling.
I am proud of the hardworking employees we have at the Council. They are eager to assist our communities and I’m confident they are going to take any temporary changes in their stride and get on with the job in hand. I’m sure you will join me in thanking them for their ongoing commitment to working for our communities.
The advice around social distancing and limiting social contact has been clear – and will be doing all we can to support it. In view of this:
- All community events and non-essential meetings have been cancelled
- Official Council meetings have all been cancelled. A short Annual General Meeting is being arranged and a small cross-party group of councillors will meet to make priority decisions only
- Council residential homes are closed to visitors and our day centres for adults will close
- Home care and domiciliary services, and children’s services will continue
- Regeneration teams are focussing on supporting local businesses
- We are encouraging residents to limit face to face contact and apply for services and make payments online and my phone. More details on our website
- Some schools in the area are going to be available for the children of ‘critical key workers’ from around the borough to attend. This is currently being organised
- If you are concerned about anyone in your community, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01495 311556
These are just a flavour of the changes, and for the most up to date information and advice please keep an eye on our website – https://www.blaenau-gwent.gov.uk/en/resident/emergencies-crime-prevention/coronavirus-covid-19-latest-information/
Please also follow our social media accounts on Facebook & Twitter for the latest. Make sure to share this information with friends, family and neighbours who may not have online access.
I would ask that you please bear with us during this difficult and unprecedented period. I know we will all look forward to returning to normal and that will happen, but in the meantime please stay safe and positive and look after yourself and one another - we are all in this together!
Councillor Nigel Daniels
Leader Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council