Agenda item

Covid 19 Recovery Update


The Leader presented the report, which was an update on the Council’s (and its partners’) response to the Covid-19 crisis supporting the City (Residents and Businesses) to comply with the current restrictions and progress in the Council’s Strategic Recovery Aims and Corporate Plan. 


The 23 March marked the anniversary of the United Kingdom going into its first lockdown and remembering all of our loved ones, friends and family members who have sadly lost their lives to Covid.


It was also an opportunity to reflect back and thank those people working on the front-line in our hospitals, social services, care homes, emergency services, teachers, refuse workers, shop workers and those who have given up their time to volunteer and support their communities, neighbours and those in need.


For Newport City Council this was an unprecedented year where we had faced many difficult decisions, seeing our residents and businesses in our wards impacted by Covid and the restrictions to protect the most vulnerable in our communities.  There was not been one person who had not been impacted by this pandemic.


The Leader of the Council had seen how Councillors across all political parties, officers and our strategic partners in health, Newport Live, Shared Resource Service, Newport Norse and other service providers came together to solve emerging issues; finding innovative and new ways of delivering our services, and supporting those who needed help. 


This Cabinet also knew that there was more to be done to support people and businesses out of this crisis. 


There would be new opportunities for us to continue making Newport a better place to live, work and visit and to also improve the resilience of our communities. 


Council’s Covid-19 Response and Progress to date


Since the previous report in March, further restrictions were eased by the Welsh Government enabling residents and businesses to slowly return back to normal routines. 


Over April it was hoped to see further restrictions ease enabling non-essential shops and businesses return over the summer period. It will be important for everyone to support local businesses across Newport to reinvigorate and provide a sustainable economy for the future. 


However, it is also important for all residents and business owners to keep to the social distancing measures and guidelines from Welsh Government to keep the case rate low and prevent any further lockdowns in the future as we continued on our journey to vaccinate people across our communities.


The rollout of the vaccine has now seen over 1.2 million people receive their first dose in Wales. 


This Cabinet’s message to residents in Newport was to take up the vaccine when it was offered and to encourage our family members, friends and our community groups to do the same. Not only would this help us all get back to normal it would enable us to meet our loved ones and do the things that we used to do.   


Despite the challenges we have faced, officers and our partners had continued to deliver services across communities in Newport in the last 12 months. 


This Cabinet had seen how resilient and resourceful officers had been in working from home, looking after their children, family members and home schooling.  But also those officers, teachers, social service staff who continued to be out across Newport collecting waste, cleaning our streets, visiting and looking after the most vulnerable in the city.


The Council was also looking forward in shaping how services were sustainably delivered in the future.  This included looking at new ways of working, developing models that would enable staff and service users to use technology and buildings differently. 


This Council was committed to be a Net Zero Carbon Council and was looking at how to make this City a greener and cleaner city for residents, businesses and visitors.   


Newport will also be evolving in the way in which we move around the City and use our public spaces differently for meeting up with our friends, shopping and leisure.  The Active Travel work and developments of the Transporter Bridge, Leisure Centre, Market Arcade and the Information Station were just some of the work that we are doing.


Council Announcements


In the last month the following key areas were delivered:


Newport started the trial of 10 KOMP devices aimed at senior residents to be digitally enabled and make video calls, share photos and send messages to their relatives in a safe, secure manner


Local businesses donated laptops and iPads to children in residential homes and in foster care to support their education.


The Council received its first electric refuse vehicle and is the first in Wales. 


Major projects such as the new Leisure Centre, Transporter Bridge received Welsh Government funding to support their development.


The Council opened another residential home as part of Project Perthyn and confirmed further funding for a third residential home in the City.


A participatory budget with Health partners enabled community groups to bid and obtain funding that would enable them to deliver local projects to their residents across Newport. The public had the opportunity to select the winning bid. Over 80 bids received across the city with value of over £400,000 from these bids.


Further updates on the Council’s progress would be provided next month.


Comments from Cabinet Members:


Councillor Mayer hoped that people remembered that the public sector had demonstrated that they were the people that had run everything during the pandemic.  Councillor Mayor gave a big thanks to all public sector authorities and officers who continued to co-ordinate the services, especially Gold Command.


Councillor Mayor also referred to the initiatives within the participatory budget with several hundred people applying.  With support from Councillor Cockeram, both councillors had been looking at communities for years to find out who needed help and support.  This was out of left field and was a fabulous initiative, and it was hoped it could be repeated.


The Deputy Leader referred to the key points, with 1.2M people receiving their first vaccine dose, the council and Newport Live supporting the NHS and it was noted how efficiently these vaccine centres were run. The Deputy Leader thanked all involved for their hard work.


Councillor Cockeram echoed colleagues’ comments and also gave a big thank you to the WG for providing the hardship fund which was a life saver for residents.  They had led the way, and Wales was first country in the UK to roll out the Moderna vaccine. 


Councillor Davies focussed on the budgeting plan bidding and pointed out the lack of engagement with the disengaged members of our community and the ability to hear their voice and this was a key opportunity.  To see the level of engagement come grass roots to fruition was how we should move forward as a Local Authority.


Councillor Harvey echoed comments of the members and thanked Steve Ward, Newport Live and the NHS for their continued hard work during the vaccine roll out as we as highlighting how well we all worked together.  The phenomenal help offered and received had kept Newport running.


The Leader concluded that partnership working within Gwent had achieved positive outcomes and would continue to do so.  This was all done with a high level of support and engagement with WG.  Newport had also worked with Deputy Minister for Equalities to encourage vaccines within the BAME community. 



That Cabinet noted the progress being made to date and the risks that were still faced by the Council.


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