26 Mar 2020

Council Leader hails “heroic” effort of frontline workers in Leeds and underlines serious challenge facing city

Coronavirus Health LCC staff_officers Volunteering

The Leader of Leeds City Council has hailed the extraordinary efforts of frontline council, NHS and other key workers as the city faces up to one of the most serious challenges it has ever known.

The Leader of Leeds City Council has hailed the extraordinary efforts of frontline council, NHS and other key workers as the city faces up to one of the most serious challenges to everyday life Leeds has ever seen.

With Leeds now on an upward curve of confirmed COVID-19 cases, Councillor Judith Blake has also urged everyone to save lives by following the government instructions on staying at home and social distancing.

Councillor Blake’s words follow a period in which the council has responded at pace to the crisis, with the following key actions being just some of the many taken by the council so far:

· Launched a volunteering programme with Voluntary Action Leeds so people can sign up to help support residents most in need.

· Launched a recruitment drive for social care workers to ensure care providers can better support the most vulnerable residents.

· Made council-managed car parks and on street parking bays in Leeds free to use, with priority given to NHS and Social Work staff, and other key workers.

· Put a call out for 500 senior people to mentor entrepreneurs and leaders from the public, private and voluntary sectors who are dealing with the impact of COVID-19.

· Kept schools open for the children of key workers and is providing 14,000 meals for children who are normally receive free school meals.

· Launched a new hotline for Leeds residents unable to leave their home for groceries and essentials, and who don’t have family or friends who can help. People who call the helpline will be matched with volunteers who can help. The number is 0113 378 1877.

· Launched a dedicated webpage for help for anyone self-isolating, information on food banks, how to get involved in volunteering in local communities, tips on maintaining physical and mental health at home, as well as the latest updates on changes to normal council services. The webpage is https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus

· Launched an emergency food provision scheme for families and individuals who are experiencing difficulties in accessing food due to financial constraints, self-isolation or accessibility of food provision.

· The council’s social work teams have helped speed up safe hospital discharges to free up hospital beds.

· Enabled more than half of all Leeds City Council officers to work from home.

· Maintained black and green refuse collection services.

Leader of Leeds CIty Council Councillor Judith Blake said:

“I would like to offer a huge thank you to all council, NHS and other key workers for their heroic response to this crisis.

“The scale and pace at which COVID-19 is changing people’s lives is unprecedented. Leeds is now entering the anticipated upward curve of cases and our hospitals will come under the biggest pressure they have ever experienced.

“The council will do all it can to help the NHS in Leeds cope, but the biggest way Leeds residents can help save lives is to strictly follow the government’s instructions on staying at home and following the guidance on social distancing.

“We are also extremely grateful to everyone who has so far volunteered to help support the most vulnerable, as well as all of the fantastic work from volunteers in local communities all across Leeds. We know we still have a long way to go, so every volunteer that comes forward is a big help to the response effort.”

On volunteering, Leeds City Council has joined forces with Voluntary Action Leeds and a network of other local charities to deliver care to anyone in need across the city in a safe way. For more information visit www.doinggoodleeds.org.uk, email info@val.org.uk or call 0113 297 7920.

Information and support for businesses on the current closedown, including guidance for the self-employed and small and medium-sized businesses, is also available at https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/business.

Some key services, vital to the daily life of Leeds and its residents, mean that the council’s staff or contractors will be working outdoors or visiting people’s homes. Please be assured that everything is being done to keep all council staff and the public safe and well while these key workers do what is needed for the city.

While schools are closed, parents and carers are urged to follow the national guidance and keep children and young people at home, knowing where they are at all times.

For information on the appeal for mentors for entrepreneurs, go to Next-Up for information and to register, either as a mentor or to be mentored.

For all the latest information on council support and services in Leeds, visit https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus. Information for businesses can be seen at https://www.leeds.gov.uk/coronavirus/business.


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Leeds City Council communications and marketing,

Email: communicationsteam@leeds.gov.uk

Tel: 0113 378 6007

For media enquiries contact:

Leeds City Council Communications team