Surrey Heath Borough Council’s priorities during this Coronavirus pandemic are to:
• ensure that we do everything we can to reduce the pressure on the NHS
• protect our most vulnerable communities
• support our staff, residents and businesses
What SHBC is doing as an organisation
We are in full Emergency Response mode. We are mobilising all available staff in the best way with the key priority of looking after our most vulnerable people in Surrey Heath. We are working seven days a week to react to the changing situation, adjusting our services accordingly, keeping the community running, and sharing the latest relevant information from trusted sources with all sectors of the community.
SUPPORT FOR THE VULNERABLE
Statutory services must continue, and will do so – however staff from non-statutory services are being redeployed to support in new vital areas of the response team, for example supporting vulnerable people such as the elderly and isolated with practical and emotional help, whether through welfare calls, visits, meals or medicine deliveries.
Support for the homeless – For single people who are rough sleeping, 28 days of emergency accommodation has been organised for those known in Surrey Heath, along with a package of support in conjunction with The Hope Hub, to help keep them as safe and well as possible during this period. Local homeless families, or those at risk of homelessness, should contact our Housing Hub so that our team can try to either prevent them becoming homeless from their current accommodation or find emergency housing for them. Housing advice
SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES
Another important area of focus for our staff is making sure local businesses have the right information and access to the various funding, business rate reductions and other advice available in these difficult times. Our Business Rates and Economic Development teams are working hard to keep people informed via our website, business e-newsletter, emails and phone. Go to our dedicated webpage Coronavirus Information for Businesses for more information.
STATUTORY AND NON-STATUTORY SERVICES
Statutory services such as Planning, Building Control and Environmental Health continue to run, as do other services including Council Tax, Benefits, and our Contact Centre. Our waste and recycling service, managed by Joint Waste Solutions continues to run a full service. However, due to the current situation departments may be running an amended service, for example as the offices are closed to the public, they may only be contactable by phone or email at the moment. Response times to enquiries may also be longer than usual due to the impact of Coronavirus on our services, so we would ask you to bear with us in these circumstances. For more information on specific services go to surreyheath.gov.uk/coronavirus
COMMUNITY SUPPORT AND VOLUNTEERING
The response from the Surrey Heath community in terms of groups and individuals coming together to help others has been brilliant. Surrey Heath Prepared has been set up by local councillors and community organisations, with its main base at High Cross Church in Camberley to coordinate support to those self-isolating and the isolated across the borough. SHBC staff have been supporting those running this new group and coordinating with them and Voluntary Support North Surrey to ensure the right people get the right help in ways that are safe for everyone involved. Thank you to everyone who has volunteered so far, and if you want to volunteer, or need help from this group, go to surreyheath-prepared.uk or ring 01276 66798.
We are coordinating this emergency response with our partners including Surrey County Council, other Surrey Borough and District councils, Public Health England and Surrey Police. This is a fast-moving situation and coordinating all this work is complex but we will work as hard as we can to make sure the resources available are put to the most effective use.