Posts From September, 2020

Partnership working at the heart of reopening tourism (Pembrokeshire CC) 

Pembrokeshire County Council’s approach to managing the destination to ensure visitors, staff and communities were kept safe over the summer involved significant partnership working.

At a regional level, the council worked with Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion County Councils, the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority (PCNPA) and Hywel Dda University Health Board to advise Welsh Government on the approach to safely reopening the tourism economy. On a Pembrokeshire footprint, the tourism infrastructure task and finish group, comprising Pembrokeshire County Council, PCNPA, Pembrokeshire Tourism and PLANED, along with other partners such as the National Trust and Dyfed Powys Police, have worked together to coordinate the approach to reopening the visitor infrastructure and the risk planning and communication strategies.

The authority established an Incident Management Centre (IMC), which operated seven days a week, morning to night, throughout the summer holiday period and included multiagency meetings involving the Police, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), Fire and Rescue, Ambulance and PCNPA. A visitor welcome team, alongside other staff from a range of council departments and partner agencies, fed information on the ground through to the IMC for speedy resolution. Issues being managed included social distancing, litter, anti-social behaviour, wild camping, parking infringements etc.

17 September 2020 14:35:00 Categories: COVID-19 COVID-19 (Tourism - Partnership) Economy Pembrokeshire

Residents, businesses and local stakeholders involved in economic recovery (Newport CC) 

Economic recovery, including the safe reopening of the city centre, is critical for Newport City Council and an economic recovery plan has been adopted by the council’s cabinet.

A survey of residents and businesses was undertaken to understand people’s concerns and priorities and a Task and Finish Group was set up to focus on how to embark on economic recovery in a safe and informed way. This group includes representation from the Newport Now BID, Gwent Police, Registered Social Landlords, Business Representatives (including the Chamber of Commerce) and third sector groups such as the Newport Access Group, Guide Dogs Cymru and Newport People First. The focus of the group has been on communication and information, supporting Newport businesses, place making and public safety.

Libraries go online to support users remotely (Vale of Glamorgan C) 

During lockdown, libraries in Vale of Glamorgan developed online initiatives to continue to support library users remotely. As services re-open, they are maintaining or increasing levels of online activity and see this as being the start of a new way of working and providing content online.

The libraries have made extensive use of social media, particularly Facebook and Twitter, to provide numerous activities including bilingual storytimes from Cowbridge library, and interactive sing-a-long rhyme time videos from Penarth library.

Much of the work to create these videos is done by staff from home using their own equipment and their own expertise in filming and editing video content.

Online clubs for both adults and children have been established in place of existing library-based clubs, including an online book club, online lego clubs, code clubs and art clubs.

Phase one of re-opening Vale of Glamorgan libraries involved providing a Click & Collect book service to customers, for which they developed an online booking system which has proved effective.

The general presence of Vale of Glamorgan Libraries on social media became a focus and they have found they are reaching a wider new audience through regular posting of interesting and humorous content, rather than simply making announcements, and sharing updates.

Repurposing tourist attraction to support the community (Caerphilly CBC) 

Llancaiach Fawr Manor is a tourist attraction located in Nelson, Caerphilly which portrays life in 1645 through live interpretation to approximately 60,000 visitors and school children each year. There are also conference rooms, an education centre, a café, restaurant and gift shop.

During the lockdown period, the majority of staff volunteered to be redeployed to the buddy scheme, to pick up prescriptions and shopping for the vulnerable residents of the county borough who were shielding. Others joined the Track and Trace Programme Team.

The education centre has been temporarily repurposed as a distribution hub. Donations are collected by staff and parcels created for delivery to food banks.

The bar and restaurant have been utilised for the provision of a childcare hub run in partnership with the Caerphilly County Borough Council Youth Service, School and Music service, Arts Development Team and Healthy Schools Service to ease childcare issues during the summer holidays for Blue Light Workers.

Preparations for the ‘new normal’ have included delivering workshops online and providing an outreach service to schools. The café has re-opened and the formal gardens and patio area furnished with outdoor seating. Take away meals and Sunday lunches have gone from strength to strength. 

 

Theatr Clwyd remains vital for its community during pandemic (Flintshire CC) 

Theatr Clwyd in Mold, Flintshire has not put on a show in months but has remained vital for its community during the pandemic.

It has been the main centre for blood donations in North East Wales, supporting the NHS to keep up their blood stocks.

Working with the council’s social services, they have helped to get food stocks out to families in need within the county. They have also run a successful ‘Rainbow Box’ appeal, which asked members of the community to donate boxes of arts and crafts materials for vulnerable young people. Over 300 were donated and distributed.

The theatre moved all of its weekly workshops online (from dementia groups to youth sessions) and has been delivering them to over 200 people per week.

Over the summer, the theatre became one of the main hubs for vulnerable and disabled children in Flintshire and also offered spaces for North Wales NHS children during the summer holidays.

The theatre has also supported a young local boy, who was accepted at the Royal Ballet School but whose place has been postponed. Following contact from his local Councillor, he has been training twice a week on stage.

Neighbourhood Hubs support vulnerable residents during lockdown (Newport CC) 

Newport’s four Neighbourhood Hubs proved invaluable in supporting and assisting some of the city’s most vulnerable residents during the lockdown.

A Freephone number was established to ensure residents had easy access to support and the hubs teams have distributed over 800 emergency food parcels. Activity packs have been provided for younger and older residents and in collaboration with Health colleagues, baby bundles have been provided for new parents struggling during the lockdown period. 

Hubs staff have also contacted over 5000 shielding residents. They have provided a check in service during these calls, offering support and making referrals to partner agencies where required. General support with shopping, prescription collection, befriending and dog walking has been provided by referrals through to Volunteering Matters Wales

Other community groups have been eager to help vulnerable residents, including the Newport Yemeni Community Association, who have been delivering food to isolating residents and Save the Children, who have provided essentials to families, including access to digital resources. A Newport wide survey identified more than 2,500 children without access to a digital device or a reliable internet connection. As a result nearly 800 devices were loaned to pupils along with 1261 units to provide a 4G internet connection.

Safe and Well Project to support vulnerable residents (Neath Port Talbot C) 

The Neath Port Talbot Council Safe and Well Service was established at the start of the coronavirus outbreak to support residents who were shielding and had nobody to call on for help with daily living tasks such as shopping and collecting medicines.

Members and officers also identified other groups of people who needed support, including people who needed to self-isolate and had no support, young carers, parents of children entitled to free school meals unable to receive BACS payments; and carers of people shielding and self-isolating.

Approximately 1,300 people received support from the service between the end of March 2020 and the end of June 2020.

A food hub was established where staff from a number of different departments collaborated to source food, ensure its safe storage, handling and distribution, made deliveries, kept good records, prepared healthy menus that catered for specific dietary requirements and ensured emergency food provision where circumstances warranted it. These arrangements were identified by Welsh Government as an example of good practice.

Circa 100 employees volunteered in their own time and circa 450 residents registered an interest to volunteer with the service. Volunteers were trained and then worked with local councillors to support the local community. A Volunteer Co-ordinator will be recruited in order to support the project and function and a strategy is being developed with input from councillors and community organisations to establish what will be needed in the ‘new normal’.

Council Buy Local directory (Neath Port Talbot CBC) 

At the start of the lockdown, Neath Port Talbot council created NPT Buy Local, a simple online directory on NPT.gov.uk showing which local businesses were providing home deliveries and support.

This was built to test the hypothesis that it would help residents during Covid-19 by signposting them to local businesses, provide exposure for local businesses with a digital listing on our website and help support and grow the local economy.

It has had a positive impact, with 6,000 page views since its launch. Many residents shopped for the first time with their local greengrocer, butcher or farm store as they were unable to shop online with the major supermarkets who could not cope with demand and for the first time many local businesses who were digitally excluded had the opportunity to reach new customers online.

Further iterations have been delivered, improving the layout of the directory, creating categories to make it easier for residents to locate businesses and setting up a database to store and manage business listings.

The Council now intends to build on the work already delivered during Covid-19 to bring the council, its businesses and residents closer together, with the vision of creating a platform for a virtual high street to complement (not compete with) the traditional high street.

Support to volunteer groups meeting COVID challenges (Monmouthshire CC) 

In Monmouthshire, challenges associated with COVID-19 have been met with an incredible and collective response by communities and organisations- over sixty volunteer led community groups with over 1000 volunteers mobilised overnight. Monmouthshire Council’s strategy was to tackle COVID-19 with communities and to support the volunteer groups in every way they could.

The council coordinated a ‘virtual community network’, with a clear collective purpose- to protect life and support communities, with no gaps and no duplication. 

While the community groups were able to develop fast, local solutions that changed people’s lives during lockdown and shielding, the council could provide structure through partnership working. Social Workers professionally and efficiently screened all individuals to ensure it was appropriate for a volunteer to support them and then allocated the support in a timely manner. 

To supplement the virtual networks, the council launched an online community- Our Monmouthshire, providing an alternative structure for people to ask for and offer help.

Aware of the potential in communities, the council delivers the Community Leadership Programme, which offers a suite of training, learning and personal development opportunities for community volunteers, for example- Successful Grant Writing training for volunteer groups exploring next steps after COVID-19. 

Cross-departmental working to deliver business grants (Pembrokeshire CC) 

By working across departments to respond to the need to deliver grants to local businesses, Pembrokeshire County Council, a small local authority, was able to go live with the grants within days and has now delivered over £52M into the local economy. 

The council used a mixture of matrix management and secondments to draw staff in from Regeneration and Economic Development, Revenue and Benefits, External Funding Teams and Finance and Employability. Part of this was a recognition that no one team has the skills to deliver everything and there was a requirement to work as ‘Team Pembrokeshire’.

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