Supporting our district in the toughest of years

Braintree District Council has published details of the work it has done to support businesses and residents during the pandemic.

At a meeting of Cabinet on July 12, councillors will discuss its fourth quarter performance management report and its annual performance report.

Before the meeting at cabinet, the council has issued a snapshot of the work it has carried out to support the community since March 2020.

The council has supported residents by:

  • Freezing its share of council tax for the year 2021/22 in recognition of the financial challenges some residents are experiencing due to the Coronavirus (COVID‑19) pandemic.
  • Giving more than 7500 tests to residents from Causeway House as part of a community testing venue supporting Essex County Council.
  • Helping with 413 referrals for a variety of support including food shopping, collection and delivery of food parcels, prescription delivery, mental health calls and befriending.
  • Supporting 3,121 individuals deemed clinically extremely vulnerable and 127 people identified as shielding.
  • Distributing more than £67,000 as part of its Councillor Community Grant scheme focusing on recovery from Coronavirus in communities across the district.
  • Working in partnership with Community 360, to distribute £16,100 of funding from the DEFRA Emergency Assistance Grant for food and supplies to eight groups across the district that require funding to assist them in providing food and essential supplies to individuals most in need.
  • Working in partnership with Essex Council for Voluntary Youth Services, to distributed £13,627 to children and young people groups to support them with re-mobilisation. A further £33,184 has been distributed to voluntary groups to enable them to continue to provide support to those deemed clinically extremely vulnerable within the Braintree District.
  • Transporting 229 individuals to their Covid vaccination appointment through its community transport scheme. The community transport team has made 3603 welfare calls to its customers since March.
  • Supporting young people by promoting schemes such as the Kickstart scheme which provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds whose have been impacted by the pandemic.

The council has supported businesses by:

  • Providing ongoing support to businesses by keeping businesses updated of changes to legislation while offering advice and support.
  • Employing Covid ambassadors to keep the town centres as safe as possible making sure both businesses and residents are able to follow all Covid secure measures.
  • Administering £54 million of grants to support businesses and help keep them going throughout the pandemic.
  • Launching a shop local campaign to encourage residents to support local businesses in a safe way.
  • Administering new pavement licences to give businesses more options and space to place tables and chairs outside of cafes, restaurants and bars in order to be able to social distance.
  • Investing in 'Click it Local' which helps local businesses compete with delivery companies such as Amazon. By the end of March, 17 businesses had signed up to the scheme in the district, with a further 20 businesses in the pipeline over the next two months.

Cllr Graham Butland, Leader of Braintree District Council, said: “Most residents, businesses and ourselves, as a local authority, have been affected by the pandemic which has changed all our lives in different ways. Over the last year, the far reaching impacts of the pandemic has seen the Council go above and beyond to deal with the challenges, supporting our residents, communities and businesses as well as adapting how we delivered services to keep key services running. We are proud of how the community has come together during the pandemic and of the role the council has been able to play supporting the community at what has been a very difficult time.”

Cllr Tom Cunningham, Deputy Leader of Braintree District Council, said: “The majority of the council’s projects such as the creation of the new Horizon 120 Business and Innovation Park and the Victoria Square project in Braintree have continued throughout the pandemic. This will mean that the district will be in a stronger position for our residents and businesses to take up new opportunities once further restrictions are lifted by central government.”

The council will publishing more information about our services following the government announcement on the 12th July 2021.

Published: 6th July 2021