I know many of us are understandably worried about the current Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic that is dominating our daily lives right now.

Together we are facing a huge challenge, and we are already seeing changes to the way we live our lives.

I want to reassure you that Sefton Council is working hard to make sure that we are able to continue to provide the vital services that you rely on.

Our services have plans in place to ensure that we can continue to support the most vulnerable residents in the borough.

Changes to services

Over the next few weeks or months, we may not be able to do everything that we usually do, we may need to alter or cancel some services, and others may be slower. This is so that we can prioritise those services that support our most vulnerable residents. Please bear with us.

We want to make sure that those most in need can reach us. If you are concerned about yourself or a vulnerable family member, friend or neighbour, please get in touch with us.

Helping vulnerable people is what we do on a daily basis and we are preparing for that work to expand considerably.

Helping each other

Throughout this difficult and uncertain time, I am proud that the people of Sefton have come together to support their friends and neighbours, and I have been heartened by the number of people coming forward to volunteer their time and energy to help their communities.

Being good neighbours is one of the best things we can do to help each other. It is really important that we are looking out for our neighbours and thinking about the community we live in.

We will support and encourage the huge community spirit that exists across Sefton to ensure people who want to volunteer can do so through established charities and organisations. We are working closely with voluntary organisations to explore the best way to do this and will announce the details of how to get involved shortly.

Support for Local businesses

We recognise that we are a borough of small local businesses who may be struggling right now. The council is looking to see what part it can play to support our local economy.

The Government have announced a number of measures to support businesses during the Covid-19 crisis. As of yet we have not received information on how these grants or loans will be administered, but we are working closely with our partners at the Liverpool City Region Growth Platform to ensure that as soon as this information becomes available, we can help and support local businesses.

Advice and guidance

The Sefton Council website is updated regularly with community information, and changes to council services. Our website also lists all the support available for residents who may be experiencing hardship. For example, Discretionary Housing Payments may be available to top-up housing-related benefit for a limited time to cover housing costs such as rent, and if you’re experiencing exceptional hardship you may be able to claim a discretionary reduction in Council Tax.

Please follow Government advice to stop spreading the virus

This is a rapidly changing situation and the Government guidance is changing daily.

New national guidance means everyone should be minimising their social contact, reducing unnecessary travel and staying at home if you, or anyone in your household, has any symptoms.

Please follow the daily guidance coming from the government and take extra care if you are over 70, if you are pregnant or have underlying health conditions: www.nhs.uk/coronavirus

Residents are also advised to work from home when possible, avoid any unnecessary travel and social interactions, as well as going to pubs, cinemas, theatres or clubs.

What to do if you feel unwell

If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of coronavirus, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, or hospital. Visit the NHS Website for further information.

All residents are encouraged to take the following steps to avoid catching and spreading the virus:

 

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue if you cough or sneeze

Put used tissues into the bin immediately

Wash your hands with soap and water often

Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available

Wash your hands when you arrive into work and return home

Try to avoid close contact with unwell people

Your local ward councillors will help wherever we can. All councillor contact details are available on the Sefton Council website

Take care of yourselves, and please do look in on your neighbours.

Cllr Ian Maher

Leader of Sefton Council

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