Getting ready for the pandemic: Amplify Stroud interview

Amplify Stroud interviewed me on 30 March 2020 as the pandemic just started to hit us, about preparations the District Council was making.

“The priority is to keep essential services running …. everyone is coming together now to work collectively on what is needed…. We all need to work together … Key is that our vulnerable residents are supported and we are making sure that our communities are supported as well. Government is telling us councils have a crucial role to play. I have to say this comes on the back of a decade of cuts to local services so we don’t have  huge resources and huge capacity. As a council we have said we are going to pay staff their full wages if off  sick and that is the same for Ubico which provides the waste and recycling services. The hardship fund will be there for people who need extra help, council tenants who need extra help with rent and bills, we will be looking to support them also. Anyone who finds themselves in difficulty, there will be support available for them. We have this fantastic initiative of communities offering to help. We all need to do this  together, and if you aren’t vulnerable but would like to help, there will be guidelines in place.

We are in this for the long haul, we need to get the planning in place so it is sustainable over the long term.

Shopworkers as well… let us think about them as well, they don’t have the luxury of working from home like some of us do. And personally as well, as a councillor I am trying to do my bit but thinking about my family, we are all under a huge amount of pressure right now.

But I have so much admiration for all those people who are going to have keep doing their jobs, council officers will have to be out, police, health, those people are amazing aren’t they, they know what is coming, we haven’t even started yet, it is like a wave on the horizon, and it is quite incredible, people who are ready to step up, I have got so much admiration for people like that.”