Huge Chelmsford thanks to Covid19 volunteers one year on
One year on from the first lockdown, Chelmsford Council Leader Stephen Robinson was asked by the Essex Chronicle to look back over the last 12 months.
Cllr Robinson thanked the fantastic volunteers who stepped up to support the vulnerable. Chelmsford City Council worked with Chelmsford CVS, who matched people in need with those offering help.
The City Council delivered food parcels, took a key role in track and trace, housed 60 rough sleepers, and gave £90m in business grants and rate refunds.
Key services continued, such as bin collections, street sweeping, housing and benefits advice and award-winning parks were an escape for people exercising. For council staff and leading Councillors this meant 12-hour days and weekend working.
As a result of the pandemic, Council spending was up and income from leisure, theatre and car parking dropped in 2020-21 by £16.5m. Then there was a potential shortfall for 2021-22 of £7.5m. Unlike the Government, councils cannot borrow for day to day expenses. So that £7.5m HAS to come from spending cuts and new income.
The last year has shown the importance of strong neighbourhoods and local shopping centres and we need to build on that as we adjust and renew. Many found they could manage with less travel. If that continues, it will be better for families and the environment.
Homeworking will mean housebuilders must include space for that in their designs. Chelmsford City Council will do so in its plans for the new Garden Community in north Chelmsford, and will support residents, businesses and community groups through whatever comes next.