'We are doing all we can' - Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery thanks council staff for their hard work

In her latest column, Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery thanks council workers and residents for their hard work and dedication during the coronavirus pandemic.

Thursday, 7th May 2020, 10:21 am
Updated Thursday, 7th May 2020, 10:22 am
Wakefield Council leader Denise Jeffery thanks council workers and residents for their hard work and dedication during the coronavirus pandemic.

As we all continue to face the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, I’d like to reflect on the work of the council in supporting thousands of residents and businesses in these very difficult times.

I came into politics to serve the residents of this district and, during this global pandemic, I have seen how colleagues, communities and partners have come together in a remarkable way to ensure we can run essential services and help those in most need.

Each and every day people who work for the council, our partners and volunteers are rising to the challenge, and I thank everyone for the contribution and dedicated support they are providing.

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At the start of this crisis it was very clear to me that we needed to act quickly, firstly by recognising the magnitude of the situation, and then by taking a series of decisive actions to adapt our services and support, where needed.

My priority has been that we support communities and I’d like to share a snapshot of some our figures to show how we have been delivering on this promise.

Our work includes support for 6,432 adults through social care, free hampers or meal vouchers to 8,600 children and we are keeping 107 schools open which has ensured 1,023 children of key workers have been looked after. We have also stepped in to help vulnerable residents - with 610 food parcels delivered by council staff, volunteers and partner organisation Nova, and more to come.

We quickly set up our coronavirus support line and 3,500 people have accessed help this way. An additional 40,201 people have visited the council’s dedicated coronavirus webpage at bit.ly/CoronaWFD - which is a great resource of information on all the help and advice we can provide.

Clearly, this is a worrying and uncertain time for businesses, so we are doing all we can to support them. Grants totalling £52million have already been paid out to more than 4,200 businesses across the district.

We’ve had great feedback on the support our team has provided, with one business owner telling us “I’m so relieved, I now have a business to go back to. Thank you.”

We’ve been keeping services running that are essential to you. More than 640,000 bins have been collected by our refuse teams, and it is heart-warming to see the many messages of thanks they have received, including one from a resident saying how much he appreciated the cheerful and helpful staff who’d emptied his parents’ bin and they deserved a massive thank you.

With some services in greater need, we have deployed some staff to work in different areas - such as customer services, waste services and emergency planning. Their willingness to take on new roles for the good of the district is a reflection of the amazing spirit and attitude of colleagues across our workforce.

Your local councillors also have a lot of knowledge and are available and ready to listen and help you. Their details can be found on the council website.

As a country and a district, we may have a long road ahead. Please be reassured, that my council and I are here for you and will continue to be.