We are all aware of the continuing difficult period that is being experienced by everyone across Westminster. I want to assure you that your local councillors will continue to provide whatever support or advice is needed in the coming weeks.
Many of you are contacting us, often with offers of help, for which we are very grateful. If you need our assistance, or have concerns about a vulnerable neighbour or relative, then do get in touch by e-mailing Westminster Connects or by phoning the new dedicated number 020 7641 1222 from 8am to 10pm, seven days a week.
The majority of your Conservative Council services continue to operate as usual. In particular, the Council’s refuse, recycling and street cleaning services are continuing to operate normally with resources continuing to be moved to the more residential areas of the city. We have now opened up special areas in the Victoria and Church Street libraries to help residents that don’t have their own computers or access to the internet. Keeping green spaces and parks open also remains a priority in order to give local people respite and for people to have their daily exercise.
In a phenomenal response, there are now almost 3,000 volunteers registered to help vulnerable and self-isolated residents around Westminster. The team are collecting and delivering shopping and medicine to local people. They are also telephoning people on the shielding list to check on their condition and to ask if there is anything that they need. The service receives 500 calls and emails a week and has been involved in more than 4,000 interactions with local people.
There is now a weekly newsletter and volunteers can sign up to take part in various activities and the response each week is excellent. There is also an interactive map available here which shows the location of the many organisations across Westminster that can offer help to residents. The map and list of organisations will continue to be updated.
There has been much concern expressed about people who have been sleeping rough on our streets. The Conservative administration’s outreach teams have now helped 250 people off the streets in one of the biggest operations of its kind in the country. They are also being given three meals a day and provided with medical supplies and other essentials as well. They each have a case worker to work with them and other agencies to find support and routes away from the street.
At this time, the Government’s position is that construction should continue. This is always subject to review in light of changing circumstances. Westminster Council will ensure that those involved in its own public realm and highways works adhere to Public Health England guidance on social distancing and that contractors put in steps to prevent the spread of the virus.
If you have any concerns about non Council sites not adhering to social distancing, please contact the Health and Safety Executive. Westminster’s noise team is working as normal and can be contacted on 020 7641 2000.
The Conservative Leader of the Council, Cllr Rachael Robathan, has written to all construction companies in Westminster asking them to be even more considerate and stressing that they must follow the public health guidance.
Small Business Grants
The Council has now given out business grants to nearly 4,000 businesses paying out a total approaching almost £70 million. These are grants of £10,000 and £25,000 pounds are provided by Central Government to help these smaller businesses get through these difficult times. The Conservative Council is supporting our businesses and has sent out the highest proportion of these grants, compared to any other London council.
Your local councillors are there to support everyone in the community and, by working together, we will get through this. Please don’t hesitate to contact us during this period. We will do all that we can to help you and your neighbours.
Cllr Rachael Robathan
020 7730 8181