Our preparations and response

Quick links to more information

  1. A round-up of some of the things we are doing and are planning to do
  2. Support for businesses
  3. Our services
  4. Schools
  5. Health and social care
  6. PPE
  7. Homeless

A round-up of some of the things we are doing and are planning to do

Provided below is a round-up of some of the things we are doing and have planned in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

  • supported our schools to close; defined key worker staff and arranged school provision for their children and planned for our vulnerable children, including continuing free school meals provision;
  • supported Fairfield Hospital to dramatically increase the number of critical care beds and opened a new COVID-19 Community Service at Prestwich;
  • planned for intermediate care, 28 care homes and home care services to cope with large increases in patients being discharged from hospital;
  • worked with our 26 Primary Care practices to completely change the way they work so that they have been able to carry on treating people;
  • learnt how to work remotely more effectively by making better use of technology;
  • created a new strategic plan for the whole health and social care system to face the dramatic increase in Covid-19 cases we are expecting over the next few weeks;
  • closed or refocused council services outside of social care to re-prioritise our resources;
  • set up 5 community hubs to look after our most vulnerable and reconfigured and expanded our Contact Centre to take calls (around 100 staff are now working in hubs, plus GM Fire and Rescue; the Police and Six Town Housing);
  • set up Castle Leisure Centre as a food distribution centre and, from there, received and distributed donated food to our most needy, including all our food banks;
  • set up a standby rota of nearly 200 volunteer staff to pack and distribute food supplies from national government;
  • arranged all the national support for businesses and agreed additional emergency support measures from the council which will be communicated this week.  

Support for business

  • We are ready to administer the national funding (business rates relief and grants of £10k and £25k) to eligible firms.
  • Taken our own support measures: a rent holiday for market traders and for companies who rent our premises; free parking in Bury; and paying our suppliers immediately. All advice is posted on the Bury Means Business website.

Our services

  • Focusing all our efforts on priority services, especially adult social care.
  • Services suspended, or operating differently to reduce spread of Covid-19, are listed on our website.
  • Around 1,000 of our staff are now working from home compared to 50 on a 'normal' day.

Schools

  • Thanks to parents who have kept their children at home.
  • Week commencing 23 March, 68 schools were open supporting 404 children in school (out of a total pupil roll of 45,000). 12 schools were closed: The Elton High, St. Gabriel's RC High, St Monica's RC High and Manchester Mevista High, Tottington High, Chantlers Primary, Holy Trinity CE Primary, St Johns CE Primary Radcliffe, Our Lady of Lourdes RC Primary, St Margaret's CE Primary, St Marie's RC Primary and Whitefield Primary.
  • We continue to work with schools to look after vulnerable children and provide free school meals.

Health and social care

  • Created a new strategic plan for the whole health and social care system to face the increase in Covid-19 cases we are expecting over the next few weeks.
  • Redeploying staff and recruiting new staff.
  • Supported Fairfield Hospital to dramatically increase the number of critical care beds and open a new Covid-19 Community Service in Prestwich.
  • Linking up health and social care to look after people discharged from hospital - an additional 33 intermediate care beds have been created (15 people have gone into these and another 9 to be admitted today).
  • Worked with our 26 Primary Care practices to change the way they work so that they have been able to carry on treating people.
  • The CCG is setting up a new online / digital platform to support people with their mental health and wellbeing. It will be available to local people as well as health and care staff, and will cover things like coping with stress, sleep, resilience and money worries.

PPE

  • Working with GM to co-ordinate our efforts to ensure we receive the supplies of PPE needed.
  • Some supplies delivered to Castle Leisure Centre and we are distributing to health and care staff.
  • National changes to the distribution will see the military take over supply of PPE.
  • We are putting in place plans for stock control and distribution in line with national guidance around priorities.
  • Many thanks to local people who have donated - including Slattery's (plastic aprons), local hairdressers (gloves), and Philips High School (goggles).

Homeless

  • We have been working with GMCA and MHCLG to ensure our provision for rough sleepers is robust. All rough sleepers in our A Bed Every Night facility have been moved into their own secure and safe accommodation with support and health provision.
  • We have also been sourcing independent temporary accommodation to support our rough sleepers when required and support the Government's lockdown directive.
  • Our Homeless service is providing the same level of support and advice but by phone/email instead of face-to-face. Government legislation to suspend evictions and offer help with mortgages will reduce the number presenting as homeless and help us to continue to provide temporary accommodation to priority need customers. To assist that, we have suspended our choice-based letting system to ensure we have greater access to accommodation for our homeless families and single people. We have also been engaging with our voluntary partners to provide support and via our local Bury Homelessness Partnership.