As one of the first local councils in the UK to publish a comprehensive Covid-19 recovery plan in June 2020, much progress has been made more than one year on.
The original report set out how the city council would strategically navigate its way through the worst effects of the pandemic, both as a local council and at a wider citywide level, with eight key priority themes and actions to guide recovery.
Now 16 months on, a progress report will go before cabinet members today (Wednesday 13 October) to show the key advances and achievements made since last June.
As well as working in partnership with many other key agencies to agree a collective response to – and recovery from – the pandemic, the report details how the council played a critical role throughout. This included supporting city businesses and some of the most vulnerable in our communities.
The main local support services that enabled the country to come out of lockdown safely – local contact tracing, community testing, rapid response to local outbreaks, financial support to those self-isolating, supporting vaccine uptake in hard-to-reach communities – have all been led and delivered by councils like ours.
A flavour of the city council’s response to the pandemic
- 14,426 payments issued to Norwich businesses totalling just over £73m since the first lockdown in March 2020, with a further £1m available to provide discretionary grants to support business recovery over the coming months
- an enhanced Covid contract tracing system saw more than 6,500 people contacted since set up in February of this year
- close working with local public health colleagues to support major Covid outbreaks in Norwich
- since the start of the pandemic, records showed that 94 rough sleepers were placed in safe accommodation – with almost 50 per cent subsequently moving into more settled housing
- continued delivery against plans to build more high quality, energy efficient homes with 74 homes for private sale built and sold by the council’s housing development company – Norwich Regeneration Company – since last year and plans progressing to build over 200 council homes across a number of city sites
- a newly independent Norwich Climate Commission due to launch in November 2021
Alan Waters, leader of the city council, said: “Our updated Covid recovery report sets out in detail all the incredible work the council has done since last March. It also shows how we have continued to respond to the evolving needs of residents and businesses, while also delivering on our ambitious priorities for the city.
“The council is building more energy efficient homes for private sale and for council rent; we’re regenerating and improving parts of the city which need it through our Towns Deal programme; and we’re progressing plans to develop a new residential and cultural quarter for the city through the east Norwich regeneration plans.
“And as we head into the winter months – and with the cost of living increasing – the council will continue to be there to support our residents. We can do this by providing financial support to individuals through Covid self-isolation payments, our generous council tax support scheme for those struggling to pay their bills, and via our commitment to becoming a living wage city. We also have a new £1m grant to support businesses to continue to recover from the pandemic.
“We’re also continuing to build on our award-winning carbon reduction programme and creating a new independent Norwich Climate Commission to help steer a city-wide response to climate change.”