Cheshire East Council’s cabinet member for environment and regeneration has highlighted some of the excellent work that has continued to be undertaken by the council during the coronavirus pandemic.
Councillor Nick Mannion said: “Work in my portfolio has continued alongside the Covid-19 response and I think it is only right to highlight just some of the excellent work that has taken place against the backdrop of this pandemic:
“Many officers have been re-deployed to support vital work in distributing £90m of business grants to around 7,000 eligible businesses in Cheshire East. This effort is still ongoing as we work to validate bank details alongside trying to contact the 14 per cent of businesses that have not yet come forward to receive their grant. If your business has not yet come forward, do visit www.cheshireeast.gov.uk/covidbusinessrates for more information.
“The business teams from the council have also been working hard to facilitate business rates payment holidays, alongside offering advice and support with partners throughout this crisis. I would like to thank the staff for their efforts and all the businesses for their patience with us during this time.”
Tatton ‘Learning Hub’ and charitable donations
Cllr Mannion continued: “Our teams at Tatton Park have developed, in a very short space of time, an inspired idea to offer virtual experiences through a new, online learning hub. The hub encourages people to experience Tatton Park in new ways and provides national curriculum-led home learning resources to families who are home educating during lockdown.
“Their recent ‘How to Build a Bug Hotel’ video has already received over 12,000 views since posting on Facebook. This is a brilliant learning offer. To see it for yourself, visit Tatton Park’s Facebook page or website.
“Tatton Park has also donated food items from their onsite shop to the Hartford hub of Age UK Cheshire – as they adapt their services to the challenges posed by Covid-19 to older, vulnerable people in the community.”
Support for cultural and heritage sectors
Cllr Mannion added: “We have welcomed support for both our heritage and cultural and creative sectors through emergency response packages from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and The Arts Council.
“We recognise the value of these sectors and our teams have been working tirelessly to keep businesses, organisations and individuals informed of the support available to them during the Covid-19 crisis.
“While applications to the Arts Council emergency response package closed on 30 April, the National Lottery Heritage Trust is welcoming applications until 30 June. More details can be found here.
“In such challenging times, we hope that by sharing initiatives such as these, organisations within our borough can continue to work together to access short-term funding to support any immediate actions and unforeseen risks presented during this crisis.”
Country parks and ranger service
Cllr Mannion continued: “Countryside rangers continue to support the community by keeping all country parks, trails and local nature reserves open to the public. This includes Macclesfield Riverside Park, Middlewood Way, Tegg's Nose Country Park, Brereton Heath Local Nature Reserve, Wheelock Rail trail and Lindow Common.
“Utilising the parks responsibly can provide significant health and wellbeing benefits during this crisis. A gentleman recovering from Covid-19 remarked he found people being able to walk at Macclesfield Riverside Park a great comfort.
“Whilst we welcome visitors, we ask all users to respect and abide by the two-metre social distancing rule set out by the government.”
Cllr Mannion said: “I’d like to thank our housing and homelessness teams, who’ve been involved so far accommodating an unprecedented number of people at such an unforeseen, challenging time.
“Since the Covid-19 lockdown, the teams have housed an additional 81 people into bed and breakfast lodgings. These direct cases have resulted in 59 per cent being offered longer-term accommodation. There are 24 individuals that are ongoing cases – 21 of whom are accommodated currently.
“Large numbers of the people assisted have lost their accommodation, particularly as a result of this current pandemic. We continue to do all we can to support those who are rough sleeping and who are particularly vulnerable at this time.”
Cllr Mannion concluded: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff who have been working so hard to support our residents, businesses and organisations during this unprecedented time.
“I have been incredibly proud of the continued hard work and dedication that everyone has shown. At a time when resources are stretched and more of us are working remotely, staff have remained determined to get us all through this crisis.”