Published March 31, 2020 at 15:39
Council staff continue to go above and beyond the call of duty to keep providing essential services, support our most vulnerable residents and support our businesses as much as we can through these extremely difficult times for us all.
It also means we have to make tough but necessary decisions.
Sadly, we have had to make the decision, in line with government advice and guidance, and in line with what other councils have done, to close our cemeteries except to funerals.
We know this will be very upsetting to many people who use the cemeteries to visit loved ones on a regular basis. But we are in the midst of the worst public health crisis in generations and we have to follow government advice and guidance.
We would have liked to give more notice but again the things are changing at a fast pace as we all try to battle this disease.
Our thoughts are with those affected by this decision and we hope to reverse them as soon as possible. We will keep all decisions under constant review.
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Last week, we launched with our partners, Rossendale Connected, our community hub, to support residents who need help because of this unprecedented public health crisis. Dozens of calls have already been made to the hub which our team are dealing with. We are always looking for more volunteers who can help out which you can do by contacting the hub. All the details can be found here.
We recognise that in these challenging times some residents may struggle to pay their council tax. We are providing additional support for all residents currently on the council tax support scheme (previously council tax benefit). This is enabling the council to award an extra £150 to all CTS claimants of working age. This will directly benefit around 3,400 local people. For all other council tax payers, please get in touch with us if you are struggling with your payments so our team can discuss your individual circumstances and see how we can help.
We are keen to provide more support for local businesses. We have already been in direct contact with over 100 local businesses reiterating the links to advice from Government support and to offer advice. Next week we will be writing to all local businesses with details on how they can claim the Government grant funding from £10,000 upwards. We are prioritising this work.
We have received lots of lovely messages from residents about our staff as they continue to deliver services such as refuse collection. Our staff have been very touched by the support they have received. We will continue to keep calm and carrying as we get through this crisis together.
Finally, can we reiterate – please follow government advice. Please stay at home. And if it is absolutely necessary you go out such as to work or for essential supplies, please follow social distancing rules.
Councillor Alyson Barnes, Leader of the Council
Neil Shaw, Chief Executive of the Council