Renfrewshire Council

Message from Chief Executive, Sandra Black - 2 April 2020

It's hard to believe this is only the second week since the Scottish and UK Governments announced unprecedented changes to the way we work and live. In the shortest space of time, as a council we have radically changed how we work as well as how we live at home and I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to all of you for the determination and hard work you have put in to making this work for the benefit of our local communities.

Since the changes have taken effect we have put in place the new childcare hubs for our key workers across Renfrewshire, with our teaching staff and staff from across the council working together to make this happen in a matter of days. Through the online learning and support they are continuing to provide; they are also giving confidence to our parents and carers and pupils that we are doing the best for them we can.

Our teams continue to provide a regular waste collection service and provide essential repairs and works to our housing across the area to maintain our essential frontline services and provide vital day to day services such as ensuring our staff and suppliers continue to get paid on time. And our Health and Social Care Partnership and social care teams continue to visit the most vulnerable in our communities to ensure they continue to receive support at this difficult time.

We have also now established our Renfrewshire Local Assistance Centre, with staff from across the council working together to help with the delivery of food and medicines, or advice to those most in need across Renfrewshire.

This week, a number of people across the country started to receive letters from Scotland's Chief Medical Officer, setting out the steps they should take if they were identified as being at a high risk of serious illness if they become unwell with Coronavirus and advising them to stay at home for an initial period of 12 weeks.

We launched our Assistance helpline on Monday to support people who are having to follow this advice and may need our help to access food and medicine. The helpline will provide people with much needed support, especially for those without family and friends who can help. I would ask that you please pass on our helpline number - 0300 300 0230- to anyone you think might be affected, and share this number as widely as possible.

The Team are on hand to provide practical support and a single point of contact for residents to make sure they can access supplies and support during their quarantine.

Food delivery is being carried out by drivers from our Environment & Infrastructure service, who are already delivering food parcels to vulnerable people across Renfrewshire - having already delivered around 150 food parcels before the introduction of shielding.  

Welfare and social work support will also be provided through the ASERT service and more general health, wellbeing and income advice is being provided by our council, partner and third sector services.

The Local Assistance Team are working alongside a remarkable network of community organisations already established in Renfrewshire to make the most of our resources and support as many people as possible, and we are supporting the drive for local volunteers to help in their communities.

I would like to sincerely thank everyone involved in providing this support, which will save lives and protect people who need us most.

For any of our staff that are required to follow the shielding guidance and have received a letter from the CMO, please contact your line manager as soon as possible to make sure we can support you.

It is very important to me that we don't lose sight of the importance of staff wellbeing. Our immediate priority is making sure you have the right guidance and you have the appropriate personal protective equipment. It is important that we all follow guidance on social distancing to help our teams continue providing our vital services. If you have any concerns about your arrangements, please let your service know.

Last week we published a wellbeing guide that contained some handy tips on how to take care of your mental health during this difficult time. We are all dealing with lots of uncertainty and juggling our work and family commitments in very challenging circumstances. Please be assured that we're keen to support you in managing this as much as we can.

If you can, take the time to check in on your colleagues and keep in touch. If you do have any concerns, there are a number of services available to help. Check out our Staff Wellbeing guide which has a list of services to help you.

And finally, I am very conscious of the impact of the lockdown and stay at home advice on children at risk of harm and for those who are experiencing or feel at risk of domestic abuse. Abuse is unacceptable in any situation, no matter what stresses people are under, and I urge anyone who is suffering to please come forward and talk to someone. Our Domestic Abuse Policy outlines what to do and also provides a list supporting organisations.

Please keep your eyes and ears open within your community and look out for children and families in your neighbourhood. If you have any concerns about a child who might be at risk, please contact our social work team on 0300 300 1199/0300 343 1505 and let's do what we can to keep everyone in Renfrewshire safe.

Stay safe and well.

Thank you.

Sandra Black

Chief Executive