Since the outbreak of COVID-19 Oxford City Council’s front line staff, along with their ODS colleagues, have been committed to working to keep services running and support residents and businesses.
Locality Officer, Azul Strong, has been coordinating the City Council’s Covid-19 response in East Oxford, focusing on improving access to essential services by building partnership with local diverse groups and enabling them to support the communities they represent while staying safe.
Azul said: “I love my job, because I can see the direct impact we are making in the community, especially in such a challenging time. Plus, the community is so welcoming and genuine.”
Tuesday 10 November 2020 is #CouncilsCan Day and Oxford City Council will join other councils around the country in celebrating the commitment of front line council workers. The online event, coordinated by the Local Government Association, will focus on the critical work of local government during the coronavirus pandemic.
Nataša is part of the Council’s Housing Options Team. She recently helped a rough sleeper who was sleeping on the pavement.
She said: “The woman had been provided with accommodation in a hostel but had gone back to sleeping rough. I persuaded her to try again and helped her back into accommodation.” “I’m proud of the work we’re doing, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of a team that helps people during the crisis. It’s so rewarding.”
During #CouncilsCan Day, councils will highlight the role they play in keeping communities running during the pandemic, and the pride taken by council staff as they continue to play a crucial public service role. It will also highlight the urgent need for financial certainty for councils in the upcoming Spending Review
Leonard Sackey works on the front line supporting local mosques and community groups to advise them on practical ways to continue delivering their essential services safely. He supports a volunteer–led group weekly with their food pipeline, so they can help around 480 families from BAME backgrounds.
Leonard said: “I feel so happy doing this because I know that we at Oxford City Council and our partners are trying our best to support everyone in our community, especially those who are most in need during these challenging times”
Continuing to provide essential aid
Despite a drop in the Council’s income and increased expenditure, the City Council continues to provide aid during the crisis. This includes:
- setting up six Locality Resource Hubs to support people in need of help to access food, medicines and essential supplies
- providing financial support and advice for businesses forced to close under lockdown regulations
- giving financial help, including Council Tax discounts, for residents experiencing financial hardship during the crisis
- part pedestrianizing some of the city’s streets to allow hospitality businesses to operate outside
- expanding the provision of homelessness services to ensure no one has to sleep on the streets.
During #CouncilsCan Day, councils across the country will highlight the role they play in keeping communities running during the pandemic, and the pride taken by council staff as they continue to play a crucial public service role. It will also highlight the urgent need for financial certainty for councils in the upcoming Spending Review.
“In these tough times Oxford City Council has continued to be there for our residents and businesses, offering vital services and support.
“#CouncilsCan Day allows us to highlight our services, the people who provide them and their dedication to keeping our communities running under challenging circumstances.
“I want to thank all our dedicated staff, especially those who are providing essential frontline services for our most vulnerable residents. I know they take pride in what they are doing and I’m sure Oxford is proud of them too.”
Councillor Nigel Chapman, Cabinet Member for Customer Focused Services
For more information, visit Councils Can Day and follow the hashtag #CouncilsCan on the day, 10 November 2020.