Colossal efforts praised in Covid response

Published

19th August 2020

The “colossal efforts” of Dundee partners involved in the local response to the coronavirus pandemic are being praised, as the scale of support provided to people and communities is outlined.

Dundee City Council’s policy and resources committee will consider a report on Monday August 24 showing how the council, local organisations and the third sector rallied together to protect the most vulnerable individuals in the city.

Food deliveries, childcare for keyworkers, child protection and assistance for those who were shielding are among the key achievements highlighted in a comprehensive report.

Council leader John Alexander said: “The Dundee mobilisation to help people through the growing crisis of coronavirus, and after lockdown was imposed, worked only because of the colossal efforts of everyone who took part.

“As weeks grew into months, the level of input from organisations was nothing short of stunning.

“Our city’s caring heart has been beating strongly during this time. We can be very proud of what has been achieved, but we need to prepare for more challenges ahead.

“Our council workforce has shown amazing resilience on the frontline in difficult circumstances, while staff who have worked from home have pioneered new digital delivery methods that will help shape services for the future.

“Community groups and their members have gone the extra mile, and then some, to ensure that nobody was left behind.

“While this report demonstrates the sheer scale of what has gone on, we cannot be complacent as we move on to the recovery phase.”

Cllr Alexander continued: “Social activity has re-emerged throughout the city, and we have seen pupils return to our schools. But we all have a role to play in suppressing the virus and taking the simple steps to try and stop transmission.

“There are still many risks ahead, but I am confident that together we can continue to make progress.”

A number of initiatives under the Covid-19 Supporting Dundee Programme are highlighted to the committee.

These include the eight Community Support Centres which were set up following the closure of schools in March. These hubs provided childcare for up to 600 key workers’ children and vulnerable children per week and continued throughout the summer holiday period

A hotline was created to assist those people who were shielding, which resulted in food and medicine support being offered to nearly 5,000 people.

Food assistance provided support equivalent to 473,020 meals to 6,857 young people eligible for free school meals. Community food providers helped nearly 5,000 people a week, while overall council support provided the equivalent of 430,596 meals to people facing food insecurity.

Other initiatives included the free delivery of period products and the provision of computer devices to help those who were digitally excluded to access online services.

The council worked alongside Dundee Volunteer and Voluntary Action as well as a host of community groups. A call to volunteer during the crisis was answered by 1,900 people.

A local hub was set up to help distribute PPE to local care providers.

Meanwhile, the Dundee Health and Social Care Partnership balanced the task of coping with the impact of COVID alongside the continued delivery of services. This included Community Adult Mental Health Service, Psychiatry of Old Age (Community/Inpatient) Services, Substance Misuse Services, Community Health Services, Social Care and Residential Care services.

The report also details the efforts surrounding child protection that were made to ensure support to the most vulnerable children and young people could continue to be delivered.

Councillors will hear that that a sitting COVID-19 response group of senior managers has now been established, which will monitor local demand for support for people and report to a regular Incident Management Team, chaired by the chief executive.

Councillor Alexander added: “Life is still proving very different for everyone even as restrictions are lifted, activities resume and schools reopen.
“We need to take many factors into consideration as we move on, including the implications of Test and Protect.

“This means that we will not have a ‘light switch’ moment when services are all restored exactly as they were. We have to consider phasing, and some public buildings may not open immediately as we pass post-lockdown milestones.

“I am convinced that Dundee’s real strength lies in our city-wide partnerships.

“To this end, we are considering how existing strategies like the City Plan and Council Plan can be reshaped to deal with the aftermath of this unprecedented situation.

“We remain fully committed to our longstanding ambitions to support business, fight poverty and to make sure that our children and vulnerable people remain safe.

“This has been an extremely difficult time, but we cannot forget our key aims to offer protection for those who most need it, and also to reduce drug deaths.

“I would ask everyone to continue the patience they showed during lockdown as we move forward as a city.”

 

 

Dundee City Council

Dundee draws skilled workers from a 60-minute catchment population of 640,000 and has a local population of over 140,000. The availability of a large pool of highly skilled labour is a key feature in the Dundee economy. Flexibility in the labour force is currently more prevalent in Dundee than in Scotland as a whole. All forms of labour market flexibility - part-time, temporary employment, self-employment and shift work - are widely operational within the city. Labour force stability in the city is excellent, enabling companies to plan with confidence. Labour turnover levels are less than 5% and absenteeism averages 2%.

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