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Council to expand support to communities through the pandemic

Brighton and Hove City Council yesterday (28 April) approved new plans for managing the city’s response to the pandemic, including more funding for schools, food banks, and those who need to self-isolate.

Brighton and Hove City Council has agreed to extend the support given to communities in responding to the pandemic, approving an allocation of £6.8m in Covid Outbreak Management funding.

New one-off funding has been distributed to local councils to use at their discretion. In addition to funding for public health teams to help manage any outbreak of Covid-19, proposals have also been targeted to respond community need. [2]

To distribute the funds, the council’s Policy & Resources Recovery subcommittee has today approved a range of new initiatives, including:

  • Support for residents who need to self-isolate, and to assist residents who do not qualify for the £500 payment from government;
  • Extension of local welfare support, including a second round of £5000 grants to local community groups, and additional money to focus on debt advice and mental health support
  • Provision of targeted support to communities disproportionately affected by Covid, including additional £300,000 ‘Communities Fund’ grant scheme and support to local community, voluntary sector and grassroots groups to develop capacity and stay afloat
  • £100,000 in funding to support food bank provision, recognising the increase in need throughout the pandemic, and to support grassroots voluntary groups to grow their capacity
  • Funding for early years providers in the city, including both nurseries and childminders, who have received little government support
  • Assistance for schools to reflect increased costs from the pandemic such as personal protective equipment (PPE), utility costs and the hiring of additional staff

The £6.8m in funds also includes funding already allocated, with £2m already agreed towards tackling homelessness and £1m towards managing the return of visitors and events to the city.

Cllr Phélim Mac Cafferty, Leader of the Council said:

“The pandemic is far from over and despite the hope for a successful recovery, the fact remains that many are still facing profound hardship. The pandemic has also hit some groups harder than others, worsening inequality and compounding existing problems. The UK has one of the lowest rates of sick pay compared to similar European countries for example, and too many people simply cannot afford to stay home off work.

“Local action has been at the heart of the support to our communities throughout, particularly where government has failed. In addition to giving money to our communities, this money will create new work on self-isolation support, help our food banks and target the growing need for debt and mental health support.

“It’s welcome that councils have been given discretion over how funding like this can be spent. However given that support needs may continue beyond the life of this funding, we will keep fighting for additional assistance.
local communities are best placed to help navigate the worst of the crisis.”

Cllr Hannah Clare, Chair of the Children, Young People and Skills Committee added:

“I’m thrilled that we are able to support both our schools and our early years providers. We know that both have experienced increased costs – yet the Government haven’t delivered.

“From purchasing PPE to funding increased water bills, schools have faced many challenges on top of years of existing cuts; and we know that support for education must continue. The issues facing the education sector will outlast any ‘roadmap’ and we will continue do what we can to support early years providers and schools across our city.”

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