"There are times when in the ‘grand scheme of things’ Party Politics must take a back seat and we are in the midst of such a time.
Over the past few weeks we have watched the rest of the world succumb to the progression of Covid-19 and over the past two weeks, here in the United Kingdom, we have also had to bow to the introduction of increasingly strict measures needed to protect our population.
The situation has been likened to the Country being on a ‘War Footing’ where all of us must act responsibly, playing our part to protect ourselves, our families and the most vulnerable in our wider population. However no-one can have failed to have noticed that these measures have brought out the worst, the peculiar and the very best in all of us!
The selfishness of food hoarding, empty shelves and ill-considered ‘contagion parties’ is now well-known. The profiteering on basic products such as hand sanitizers, antibacterial soap and the use of social media to propagate false news is shocking. But in amongst all this are examples of extraordinary service and commitment to supporting all of us who will need care and support in the weeks and months to come. Our NHS staff are already stepping up to the challenge. They know what is coming and both their commitment and courage is humbling.
Yet quietly and largely unacknowledged in the background are other workforces, without whom, the basic services we rely on simply would not happen and upon whom the NHS are directly and indirectly dependent.
They are the staff of local authorities and here in Cheshire East, over 3,000 staff will continue to operate over 500 services for residents; emptying bins and managing waste. Cared-for children, now off from school, will continue to be cared for and children and adults with additional needs will continue to be supported within the robust conditions now required for their safety.
Our social workers and social care teams will continue to support our frail elderly and their carers, within all the constraints that Covid-19 will place upon them. In addition, staff are being re-assigned to support our Community Teams and NHS Care Communities to help co-ordinate the wonderful plethora of voluntary, faith and community support initiatives through the Cheshire East “People helping People” initiative.
In the midst of working out how you will manage the new realities of 'lock down' requirements, social distancing and infection control, please spare a thought and a thank you for your Council staff - their commitment and courage on the front line are equally humbling.
Cllr Janet Clowes: Conservative Group Leader Cheshire East Council
This statement was prepared for the Macclesfield Express w/b 22.03.2020.
Cheshire East People Helping People scheme can be found on this link:
Photo: Cheshire East Council