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Helping vulnerable neighbours must be legacy of this – not pictures of empty shelves

PUBLISHED: 14:17 22 March 2020 | UPDATED: 14:17 22 March 2020

Good Neighbour Schemes, like this one, will be vital in the weeks ahead Picture: SALLY CONNICK

Good Neighbour Schemes, like this one, will be vital in the weeks ahead Picture: SALLY CONNICK

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Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere gives his thoughts on the coronavirus crisis and its impact in his latest column.

These are unprecedented times for the vast majority of us who do not remember the hardships of the Second World War. But the same spirit of determination and co-operation that pulled the nation through then must also apply now.

Ipswich Borough Council is determined to play its part. Closing our public buildings and cancelling events were big decisions to make but these are essential measures if we are to slow the spread of the virus and give our NHS a chance.

Terms such as social distancing and self-isolation are new to us but the Government’s advice is clear: by doing this we can help to beat the virus.

The Council will try to keep services running normally for as long as we can but this will change if the Government directs us to stop a service, or if our staff become ill or have to self-isolate, or we need to move resources to ensure more critical services are kept going.

Our priority is to continue to deliver key services such as emptying your black bins and meeting the needs of our HEARS customers and sheltered scheme residents.

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Where we are tasked to deliver help to residents and businesses such as business rates relief and support over council tax emergencies, we will implement these as soon as possible after receiving guidance from the Government.

More information will follow and we shall put out regular messages in a clear and concise way.

We are working with partners to support charity and community groups and have already ‘lent’ sports staff to assist the vital work of the FIND foodbank.

Ipswich has a proud tradition of coming together in times of trouble. I am confident we shall do so again and reach out to our vulnerable neighbours, families and friends. That is the legacy – not pictures of empty shelves in shops – that I want Ipswich to have from this crisis.

Finally, I want to thank the Council’s staff, our dedicated NHS staff, our emergency services, volunteer organisations and all the people going about their business where and when they can. I urge all of them – and you – to stay safe.

Information about Council services can be found on our website: www.ipswich.gov.uk

• David Ellesmere is leader of Ipswich Borough Council.

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