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Published 21 May 2020

Thousands of West Dunbartonshire residents have benefited from support as part of the Council’s emergency response to Covid-19.

Since lockdown began in March, Council services have been working hard to ensure the area remains a safe and supportive place for everyone, with particular focus on the most vulnerable.

To date, almost 1464 residents have been given assistance from the newly-established Crisis Support Team; 1097 local business owners have received £10m in grant funding; 3000 residents on the shielding list have been contacted with 912 given additional support; almost 100 homeless households have been provided with temporary accommodation; and 5,500 welfare calls have been made to tenants.

Council teams are also doing all they can to assist residents facing financial hardship during the pandemic, with crisis grants totalling more than £80,000 awarded to 1,170 people, and a further £41,152 in Community Care Grants paid to 198 households.

When schools were closed in March, Educational services reacted quickly to establish 14 school hubs and online learning tools so the area’s school pupils could continue to be educated. There are currently 5,500 active Google classrooms used for learning, with 2,968 children accessing hubs.

A total of 5,677 school lunches have also been provided every week, with packed lunches and  vouchers offered to children who are eligible for a free school meal. 

In addition, contact centre employees have responded to 500 calls each day from residents, with hundreds of further interactions through the Council’s social media channels.

The Council has also increased its digital offer, including updating the online books and magazines available through libraries, which has led to a 600% increase in use of the materials.

Throughout the lockdown, many services have continued to operate including the home care service with staff delivering 22,000 visits to vulnerable residents every week.

Waste services teams have collected an average of 640 tonnes of rubbish from 45,000 households each week since March.

In addition, 600 employees have volunteered to help in alternative roles as part of the response.

Council Leader, Councillor Jonathan McColl, said: “I am extremely proud of the way all of our services, both those out in the front line and those who are working behind the scenes, have stepped up to support our residents.

“From practical help offered to vulnerable people to ensuring local businesses have the best chance of survival and our young people are not negatively affected, every single action has gone towards helping residents feel safe and supported during these uncertain times.

“Supporting the vulnerable within our communities has been at the heart of this response, and our partnership with third sector groups has allowed us to make sure that those most in need could get help with food, medicine and other deliveries.

“This fantastic response will continue, and even as we begin our planning process for a West Dunbartonshire recovery, we will still be ensuring we reach out to support residents where needed.”