Coronavirus – Your Councils’ support
We are writing to you to keep you informed of the actions that are being taken both nationally and locally to contain and ultimately defeat the COVID-19 Pandemic, and to reinforce the actions that we need you to take to help us in doing this.
Norfolk’s Councils have been working with community, voluntary sector and other public sector organisations in the county to prepare for when a situation like this might arise, while making sure they provide support to those who need it in our communities. We now also need every one of our residents to act and help protect themselves and others.
We ask that you please read through the whole of this letter, which offers practical advice and directs you to key support packages if you are struggling at this time.
Support for the Vulnerable:
The Government announced that it would be stepping-up to directly support about 1.5m people identified as vulnerable in communities across the country. Some people will already have received letters from the NHS asking them to contact a national helpline so support can be arranged. It is essential that we shield these people from the virus. As a county, we are aware this list will not identify all people in our communities that need assistance.
Therefore, if you are classed as either vulnerable (see Government advice on vulnerability) or are in need of support, either now or in the coming weeks, please contact our designated phone line on 0344 8008020 or visit Norfolk.gov.uk. This line will be open from Monday (30th March 2020), operating Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm.
Our community volunteers, local charities and council staff stand by to assist you. We ask that if you are able to volunteer some of your time to assist others in your community, we really need your help. If you are a business and can help with services, vehicles or other resources, we would love to hear from you, as together we really can make a difference. Individuals who want to volunteer should visit www.voluntarynorfolk.org.uk and businesses should email [email protected]
The Government has provided a Hardship Fund to help people. If you are in need of this support, visit your local council website and follow the advice. Please do not visit your council offices, you will be able to access the information and ask for assistance either online or by phone.
As part of the Norfolk Councils’ response, Great Yarmouth Borough Council has set-up a helpline for residents needing Council Tax advice and financial help. The number to call is 0808 1962236 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Help for Businesses:
If you are a business in need of help, please visit the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership website www.newanglia.co.uk/free-support-for-your-business-during-coronavirus/
Great Yarmouth Borough Council has also set up a help line offering business support. The number to call is 0808 1962240 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Help whilst Self Isolating:
For those who are self-isolating and cannot access help to get supplies delivered, Great Yarmouth Borough Council has set up a help line to offer community support in accessing essential items. The number to call is 0808 1962238 Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.
Finally, working with the Norfolk Community Foundation, we have launched a Norfolk Appeal Fund, which will be directed to charities on the front line of caring for people across the county. This fund will help us to support the people in our county who need it and is critical to our collective response. If you are able to support those in need in Norfolk, you can either go online to www.norfolkfoundation.com/giving-philanthropy/covid19communityresponsefund/ or through the post to: Covid-19 Response, Norfolk, Community Foundation, St James Mill, Whitefriars, Norwich, NR31TN. Cheques should be made out to Norfolk Community Foundation.
It is essential that we take the direction given by the Prime Minister and stay at home.
The advice was clear – leave home only for:
Shopping for basic necessities.
One form of exercise a day (on your own or in household groups).
Any medical need/care or to care for the vulnerable.
Travelling to and from work, only if absolutely necessary
Public Health Advice:
Norfolk was one of the last counties in the country to have confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus, but this should not give us any false assurance. We like the rest of the country have a rapidly escalating situation that requires us all to act and act now. We need to take the advice to stay at home – the virus does not spread itself, we spread it and we need to stop.
Sheila Oxtoby Carl Smith
Chief Executive Officer