Council Leader David Baines has written the following open letter, first published by the St Helens Star:
This is a difficult time for all of us – for everyone in St Helens, our country, indeed the whole world. Life as we know it has stopped, as we do what is necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19, to protect the NHS, and to save as many lives as possible.
I have been overwhelmed by the community response to the crisis. Across the borough, residents, businesses, and voluntary organisations old and new are stepping up to help each other and provide essential supplies and support. If there is a silver lining to this situation, it’s the kindness being shown in so many ways.
To support residents, businesses, and community organisations, St Helens Council has taken the following action:
- Launched #StHelensTogether – 01744 676767 sthelenstogether.co.uk – coordinating volunteers and those who are in need of support
- Published a comprehensive information portal at sthelens.gov.uk/coronavirus
- Redeployed staff to help keep essential front-line services running
- Suspended all Council parking charges so that NHS staff, key workers and those on essential journeys don’t have to worry about parking fees
- Committed that for every green bin collection we’ve had to cancel, we’ll give a free one next year
- Provided temporary accommodation for every rough sleeper in the borough
- Offered financial help including the suspension of all debt collection and bailiff action for council tax arrears
- Provided free school meals for every child who needs one, and we will continue to do so over the Easter holidays
- Coordinated support for business including financial support and business advice
- Committed to providing advice and guidance for residents to access job opportunities through our Ways To Work programme
This ten point plan sets out our Council’s core strategy, and our commitment to St Helens Borough to do all we can to help.
Please continue to follow the expert advice, for the sake of our fantastic NHS and all key workers who are grafting tirelessly to keep us all provided with essential items and services.
The communities and people of St Helens are strong and resilient. Together we will get through this. Look after yourselves, and each other.