Town Hall Figures Have Revealed The Scale Of The Logistical Operation Wigan Council Has Put In Place During the Coronavirus Crisis.

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Alison McKenzie-Folan, new Chief Executive of Wigan Council with Cllr David Molyneux, Leader of Wigan Council.

The numbers posted by senior local authority figures show the scale of the efforts needed during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Hundreds of staff have been deployed in front-line roles while thousands of pounds are being paid out on a weekly basis to individuals and businesses across the borough.

A staggering £25m has also been dished out in business support grants to 2,300 companies across the borough since the beginning of April, Wigan Council said.

The figures also reveal the scale of the need for local government services, with more than 1,000 people ringing the council’s helpline last week and a further 678 web forms being filled out.

Since it went live the helpline has answered 1,294 calls, with 817 online forms submitted. In the past week 1,199 emergency food parcels have also been delivered across the borough.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) has also been delivered to 60 locations in the past week, including 54 care homes, the council said.

The council’s chief executive Alison McKenzie-Folan last week said that in a seven-day period the town hall had deployed 350 employees in essential services.

In addition the town hall had paid out £56,000 to support those in hardship and enable them to keep their tenancies. A total of 436 discretionary housing payments had also been made in just four days

Community hubs have been set up which are available for those who require help during the Covid-19 outbreak

Local government has also been helping highlight independent businesses able to tackle well-publicised problems such as supermarkets having all their delivery slots booked for weeks.

The Open For Business database on the council’s website lists borough firms which are able to bring food and other essential items to residents.

Last week it was announced that Wigan Council is receiving £10m from a government pot to help local authorities tackle the crisis.

At the time Wigan Council leader Coun David Molyneux described as “unprecedented” the challenges that councils are facing with residents having to stay at home unless their job is essential and cannot be done outside the workplace.

Local government secretary Robert Jenrick said town halls were facing increased demand for social care and required more cash to support vulnerable residents. However, the government is facing questions on whether its measures to support people have gone far enough.

Wigan MP Lisa Nandy told a Sunday politics TV programme schemes for businesses were not comprehensive enough and too slow to deliver the money.

The council’s official efforts are being supported by an array of volunteer-led, grass-roots groups and work to support vulnerable residents being done by charities.

Many streets have set up What’s App groups where those who are self-isolating and those who are keen to help others alike can find out who requires assistance and what can be done to help them.

Volunteers have carried out tasks such as arranging for older residents or those on 12-week lockdowns to have shopping delivered to their doorstep. Groups have also provided a point of contact for those who simply need to ring up and chat to someone.

Anyone requiring support from the council can either fill in an online self-referral form or ring 01942 489018.

Kind-hearted residents wanting to do something to assist other Wiganers can register interest in helping out online

For more information visit www.wigan.gov.uk/bekindThe business database for deliveries is at www.wigan.gov.uk/Council/The-Deal/Deal-Communities/Be-Kind/Open-for-business.aspx