Week four of restrictions – this is what’s happening at Ipswich council

PUBLISHED: 13:28 12 April 2020 | UPDATED: 13:28 12 April 2020

Ipswich  town centre  is deserted during lockdown Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich town centre is deserted during lockdown Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN


In his latest column, Ipswich Borough Council leader David Ellesmere outlines how the authority is continuing to operate during the ongoing lockdown.

We are now entering the fourth week of restrictions to stop the spread of coronavirus.

I thought it might be useful to give some more detail about how Ipswich Borough Council is operating in these unprecedented circumstances.

Our top priority is to maintain the delivery of key services to Ipswich residents and businesses.

In line with Government instructions, we have closed many council facilities such as closed sports centres, swimming pools, the Corn Exchange and Regent.

The only other major service affected is the collection of brown bins. I know this is an inconvenience, but it is essential for public health reasons – despite staff being off work due to illness and self-isolation – that we retain enough capacity to continue to empty black bins.

You may also want to watch:

As things currently stand, we still have enough people at work in our fantastic bin crews to continue emptying both black and blue bins and don’t see this having to change over the coming week.

Wherever possible we are seeking to redeploy staff from council facilities that have closed down. Well over 100 people are now currently working in a different area to their normal job.

One reason for redeployment is to boost existing services that are facing more demand such our 24-hour a day Emergency Services Centre, the HEARS community alarm service, sheltered housing schemes and parks patrols who are ensuring that social distancing measures are observed.

Two particular areas we have bolstered are in staff able to take phone queries from residents and in processing benefits claims. As firms lay off staff, we are seeing new claims running at more than double the normal rate and it is essential we get help to these people as soon as possible.

We are also using redeployed staff to meet new demands such as implementing the Government’s business grants scheme. We have already paid out more than £10m to hard-pressed local businesses.

Around 40 people are also now helping to distribute food to vulnerable households.

I am incredibly proud of the way Ipswich Borough Council staff have, largely unseen, stepped up to the challenge of supporting Ipswich through this crisis. They are fully deserving of inclusion in our round of applause on Thursday evenings.

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Ipswich Star. Click the link in the orange box above for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Comments have been disabled on this article.

Latest from the Ipswich Star